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Lamentations 5:18

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

18. Propter montem Sion qui in vastitatem redactus est, vulpes incedunt in eo.


Though he had in general included all kinds of evils, he yet mentions now the principal cause of sorrow, that mount Sion had lost its beauty and its excellency. For that place had been chosen by God, as though he had descended there from heaven, that he might dwell there; and we know also that its beauty is spoken of in high terms. For there the face of God shone forth, as Moses and the Prophets often speak. It was then an extremely sad change, that as God had dwelt in mount Sion, foxes should lodge there as in a deserted cave. For on mount Sion was the tabernacle or the sanctuary; and God says that it was the tabernacle of meeting, מועד, moud, because there he wished to hold intercourse with his people. As, then, that place included God and his Church, it was, as I have said, a dreadful and monstrous thing, that it had become so desolate, that foxes succeeded in the place of God and the faithful. It was not, then, without reason that Jeremiah, after having spoken of so many and so bitter calamities, mentioned this as the chief, that mount Sion was reduced to desolation, so that foxes ran there hither and thither 236236     Some connect this verse with the foregoing, as a special reason why their eyes were darkened, —

   17. For this become faint did our heart;
For these things darkened were our eyes,

   18. Yea, for mount Sion, which is desolate;
Foxes have walked through it.

   “This” was the “woe” which sin had brought; and “these things” were the various things which he had previously stated, but the desolation of mount Sion was the chief cause of sorrow.

   Others take this verse by itself, as it is done by the Sept., where על is rendered “on,” and ש for אשר, is translated “because,”

   On mount Sion, because it has become desolate,
Foxes have walked in (or through) it.

   If על be rendered concerning, or, as to, or, with regard to, the best construction would be the following, —

   As to mount Sion, which has become desolate,
Foxes have walked in it (or, traversed it.)

    — Ed

For as it is the principal thing, and as it were the chief of all blessings, to be counted God’s people, and to have a familiar access to him, so in adversities nothing is so sad as to be deprived of God’s presence. When David testified his gratitude to God, because he had been enriched by every kind of blessing, he added this,

“I shall dwell in the house of God.” (Psalm 23:6.)

For though he had spoken of wealth and riches and of the abundance of all things, yet he saw that his chief happiness was to call on God together with the faithful, and to be deemed one of his people. So, also, on the other hand, the Prophet here shews that nothing can be sadder to the godly than when God leaves his dwelling and makes it desolate, in order to terrify all who may see it.

This had been predicted to them by Jeremiah himself, as we have seen in the seventh chapter of his prophecies, “Go ye to Shiloh,” he said, where the ark of the covenant had long been; though that place had been a long time the habitation of God, yet it was afterwards rejected with great disdain. Jeremiah then declared to the Jews, while they were yet in safety, that such would be the condition of Jerusalem; but his prophecy was not believed. He now, then, confirms, by the event, what he had predicted by God’s command, when he says that mount Sion was become the den of foxes. It follows, —

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