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Lamentations 4:15

15. 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

15. Discedite, pollutus, clamavit illis; discedite, discedite, ne accedatis: quia evolarunt (aut, festinarunt,) etiam errarunt, dixerant in gentibus, Non adjicient ad Labitandum


The Prophet confirms the former verse, as I have said, even that no part of the city was free from filth, because they cried everywhere, “Depart, depart — unclean!” That what is said may be more evident to us, we must notice that the Prophet alludes (which also has not been perceived) to Leviticus 13:45. For it is said there of the lepers, whose disease was incurable, that they were to go with rent garments, with a bare head, with covered lips, and cry, “Unclean, unclean, טמא טמא יקרא thema, thema, ikora. God, then, would have the leprous to be driven from the assembly; and hence came into use the exclamation, Unclean, unclean, טמא טמא, thema, thema. But here the Prophet says, “Depart, depart — unclean סורו סורו טמא, suru suru thema; which is substantially the same as commanded in the law. Now the Prophet speaks metaphorically when he says, that the city was infected with uncleanness, as though lepers were everywhere. We hence see how all these things agree together, “They cried, Depart ye — unclean; depart ye, depart;” that is, no one can move a foot from his house, or go forth in public, but some uncleanness will appear to him, so that it might be rightly exclaimed, Unclean, depart ye, depart The Prophet, after having thus spoken, Depart ye, come not nigh says, they have fled. It is a striking allusion to the exile of the people, as though he had said, that they were driven afar off by their defilements. As then they were removed to a distant land, he says that this happened through their own fault; how so? because they could no longer endure these defilement’s of their sins; they had so contaminated the holy city, that it was foetid through their filth. As, then, the city Jerusalem was so polluted, the citizens, he says, at length fled away: and thus exile proceeded from themselves, that is, the cause of exile was their filth, because they contaminated the city. They have fled, he says, and have also wandered; that is, so great was their haste, that they kept not the right way, but turned here and there, as they usually do who hasten with trembling. For when any one travels, and his mind composed, he attends to the road that he may not go astray; but he who trembles, or is filled with fear, forgets the way, and wanders from the right course. So, then, our Prophet now says, that the Jews fled and also wandered; for he uses the particle גם, gam, also; they also wandered, he says, even through that trepidation by which they were smitten.

They have said among the nations, They shall not return to dwell; that is, they are scattered and driven among various nations without hope of returning.

We now see what the Prophet meant to show, even that the Jews had no reason to complain of their exile, because they had so infected the holy city with their vices, that they were hence driven by their own filth; this is one thing: and, then, that so great was the mass of their evils, that they were seized with fear; and thus they did not keep on the right way, but turned into devious paths and met darkness; and, in the last place, he adds, as a continuation of what he had said, that there was no hope of a return.

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