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Lamentations 1:14

14. The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up.

14. Ligatumest (hic vertit Hieronymus, vigilavit, namhallucinatus est inpuncto duntaxat צנשקד et legendum est צנשקד quia est punctum sinistrum, quod significat ligave, ligatum est igitur) jugum iniquitatum mearum in manu ejus; implicitae sunt (vel, perplexae,) ascenderunt super collum meum; corruere fecit (vel, debilitavit) robur meum; dedit me Dominus in manus eorum (est in regimine, et tamen nulla sequitur additio, quae respondeat, sed apparet aliquid esse subaudiendum, in manus ergo hostium) ex quibus non potero surgere.


Here, again, Jerusalem confesses that God had been justly displeased. She had ascribed to God’s vengeance the evils which she suffered; but now she expresses the cause of that displeasure or wrath. Hence she says, that the yoke of her iniquities had been bound in God’s hand. Though interpreters explain the words, yet they touch not the meaning of the Prophet; for they consider not that there is a continued metaphor. We ought then to bear in mind the two clauses, — that God’s hand held the yoke tied, and also that the yoke was bound around the neck of Jerusalem. As when a husbandman, after having tied a yoke to oxen, holds a rein, and folds it rotund his hand, so that the oxen not only cannot throw off the yoke, but must also obey the hand which holds the reins; so also it is said, that the yoke of iniquities was fastened: “I bear the yoke,” she says, “but it is tied, and so fastened, that it cannot be shaken off; and then, however furious I may be, or kick, God holds the tied yoke by his own hand so as to constrain me to bear it.”

We now, then, see the design and import of the Prophet’s words, that God was justly incensed against Jerusalem, and had justly used so much severity. Expressed at the same time is the atrocity of the punishment, though wholly just; for, on the one hand, Jerusalem complains that a yoke was laid on her neck, tied and fastened, and also that it was tied by the hand of God, as though she had said, that she was under such a constraint, that there was no relaxation. On the one hand, then, she bewails the grievousness of her calamity; and on the other, she confesses that she fully deserved what she suffered; and thus she accused herself, lest any should think that he clamored against God, as is commonly the case in sorrow. 139139     All the versions agree in rendering נשקד in the sense of watching; and when they agree, there is a strong presumption that they are right. And all agree as to על being a preposition, and not a noun, “yoke,” except the Vulg., which hardly gives any meaning. The Rabbins have invented a new meaning for the verb, which it has in no other place, and some have followed them. It is rendered impersonally by the Sept., “there has been watching,” but by the Vulg., “he hath watched.” To “watch over transgressions,” is similar to “watch upon (or over) the evil,” in Daniel 9:14; it is to watch over them in order to punish them. The whole verse I render thus, —

   14. He hath watched over my transgressions, by his hand they are twined; His yoke is upon my neck, he hath made to fail my strength; Yea, given me hath the Lord into the hands of the oppressor, I cannot stand.

   The word “hands” is in a construct form, which shews that there is a word left out. “I cannot stand,” i.e., against the oppressor; I cannot resist. The future is used in the sense of the present; literally it is, “I shall not be able to stand,” or resist. So it is exactly in Welsh; it is the future, but understood as expressing what is present.

   In the first line, “his hand” is connected in all the versions with “twined,” or wreathed together. — Ed.

It is added, He hath made to fall, or weakened, etc. The verb כשל, cashel, in Hilphil, means, as it is well known, to stumble, or to cause to stumble or fall. He hath, then, weakened my strength; the Lord hath given me up into the hand of my enemies, from whom I shall not be able to rise; that is, he hath so subjugated me, and so laid me prostrate under the hands of my enemies, that there is no hope of rising again. Were any one to ask, “Why then does she pray, and again will pray often?” the answer is, that when she says here, that she will not be able to rise again, the reference is made to the outward state of things: in the meantime, the grace of God is not taken to the account. and this goes beyond all human means. She then says, that according, to the thoughts of the flesh, she had no hope, because there appeared to be no means of rising. But yet she did not despair, but that God would at length, by His almighty power, cause her to rise from fatal ruin. And this is a mode of speaking that ought to be borne in mind; for hope sees things which are hidden. But at the same time the faithful speak according to the common appearance of things, and when they seem to despair, they regard what falls under their own observation and judgment. So then Jerusalem now says that she could not rise, except God manifested his extraordinary power, which far exceeds all human means. It follows, —

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