12. as the wounded--famine being as deadly as the sword ( Jeremiah 52:6 ).
soul . . . poured . . . into . . . mothers bosom--Instinctively turning to their mother's bosom, but finding no milk there, they breathe out their life as it were "into her bosom."
13. What thing shall I take to witness--What can I bring forward as a witness, or instance, to prove that others have sustained as grievous ills as thou? I cannot console thee as mourners are often consoled by showing that thy lot is only what others, too, suffer. The "sea" affords the only suitable emblem of thy woes, by its boundless extent and depth ( Lamentations 1:12 , Daniel 9:12 ).
14. Thy prophets--not God's ( Jeremiah 23:26 ).
vain . . . for thee--to gratify thy appetite, not for truth, but for false things.
not discovered thine iniquity--in opposition to God's command to the true prophets ( Isaiah 58:1 ). Literally, "They have not taken off (the veil) which was on thine iniquity, so as to set it before thee."
burdens--Their prophecies were soothing and flattering; but the result of them was heavy calamities to the people, worse than even what the prophecies of Jeremiah, which they in derision called "burdens," threatened. Hence he terms their pretended prophecies "false burdens," which proved to the Jews "causes of their banishment" [CALVIN].
15. clap . . . hands--in derision ( Job 27:23 , 34:37 ).
wag . . . head--( 2 Kings 19:21 , Psalms 44:14 ).
perfection of beauty . . . joy of . . . earth--( Psalms 48:2 , 50:2 ). The Jews' enemies quote their very words in scorn.
16, 17. For the transposition of Hebrew letters (Pe and Ain, Lamentations 2:16 Lamentations 2:17 ) in the order of verses,
opened . . . mouth--as ravening, roaring wild beasts ( Job 16:9 Job 16:10 , Psalms 22:13 ). Herein Jerusalem was a type of Messiah.
gnash . . . teeth--in vindictive malice.
we have seen it--( Psalms 35:21 ).
17. Lord--Let not the foe exult as if it was their doing. It was "the Lord" who thus fulfilled the threats uttered by His prophets for the guilt of Judea ( Leviticus 26:16-25 , Deuteronomy 28:36-48 Deuteronomy 28:53 , Jeremiah 19:9 ).
18. wall--( Lamentations 2:8 ). Personified. "Their heart," that is, the Jews'; while their heart is lifted up to the Lord in prayer, their speech is addressed to the "wall" (the part being put for the whole city).
let tears, &c.--( Jeremiah 14:17 ). The wall is called on to weep for its own ruin and that of the city. Compare the similar personification ( Lamentations 1:4 ).
apple--the pupil of the eye ( Psalms 17:8 ).
19. cry . . . in . . . night--( Psalms 119:147 ).
beginning of . . . watches--that is, the first of the three equal divisions (four hours each) into which the ancient Jews divided the night; namely, from sunset to ten o'clock. The second was called "the middle watch" ( Judges 7:19 ), from ten till two o'clock. The third, "the morning watch," from two to sunrise ( Exodus 14:24 , 1 Samuel 11:11 ). Afterwards, under the Romans, they had four watches ( Matthew 14:25 , Luke 12:38 ).
for . . . thy . . . children--that God, if He will not spare thee, may at least preserve "thy young children."
top of . . . street--( Isaiah 51:20 , Nahum 3:10 ).
20. women eat . . . fruit--as threatened ( Leviticus 26:29 , Deuteronomy 28:53 Deuteronomy 28:56 Deuteronomy 28:57 , Jeremiah 19:9 ).
children . . . span long--or else, "children whom they carry in their arms" [MAURER].
21. ( 2 Chronicles 36:17 ).
22. Thou hast called as in . . . solemn day . . . terrors--Thou hast summoned my enemies against me from all quarters, just as multitudes used to be convened to Jerusalem, on the solemn feast days. The objects, for which the enemies and the festal multitude respectively met, formed a sad contrast. Compare Lamentations 1:15 : "called an assembly against me."