My eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured on the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)My liver is poured upon the earth . . .—The phrase is not found elsewhere, but admits of an easy explanation. The “liver,” like the “heart” and the “bowels,” is thought of as the centre of all intense emotions, both of joy or sorrow (Proverbs 7:23). As such it is represented as giving way without restraint (comp. Lamentations 2:19), under the pressure of the horror caused by the calamities which the next words paint, by the starving children who fainted for hunger in the streets of the city.
Liver - As the heart was regarded by the Jews as the seat of the intellect, so the liver (or bowels) was supposed to be the seat of the emotions. The pouring out of the liver upon the ground meant that feelings had entirely given way under the acuteness of sorrow, and he could no longer restrain them.
swoon—through faintness from the effects of hunger.
For the destination of the daughter of my people; for the miseries befallen the Jews: he had mourned for their sins before, and for their plagues too which he had in prospect, Jeremiah 9:1; he now mourns for them as being come upon them: which mourning considered only as for their miseries, spake no more than the prophet’s good nature and love to his country; but considered as the indication of God’s wrath and displeasure, was also a godly sorrow.
Because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city; the children and sucklings fainted and swooned, either for want of water, or bread, or milk in their mothers’ or nurses’ breasts during the famine, occasioned by the long siege of the city. This appears in the next verse.
my bowels are troubled; all his inward parts were distressed:
my liver is poured upon the earth; his gall bladder, which lay at the bottom of his liver, broke, and he cast it up, and poured it on the earth; see Job 16:13; and all this was
for the destruction of the daughter of my people; or, the "breach" of them (t); their civil and church state being destroyed and broke to shivers; and for the ruin of the several families of them: particularly
because the children and sucklings swoon in the streets of the city; through famine, for want of bread, with those that could eat it; and for want of the milk of their mothers and nurses, who being starved themselves could not give it; and hence the poor infants fainted and swooned away; which was a dismal sight, and heart melting to the prophet.Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. my bowels are troubled] See on ch. Lamentations 1:20.
My liver is poured upon the earth] The liver seems to have been looked upon, as were the rest of the vitals, as the seat of the emotions, and hence the expression in the text merely denotes strong and painful excitement. Cp. pouring out the heart, Lamentations 2:19, Psalm 62:8; cp. Job 16:13.
destruction] mg. breach. See on Jeremiah 4:20; Jeremiah 17:18.
11–17. Lament over Zion’s exposure to the mockery of her enemies.Verse 11. - My bowels are troubled (see on Lamentations 1:20). My liver is poured upon the earth. A violent emotion being supposed to occasion a copious discharge of bile. The daughter of my people. A poetic expression for Zion or Judah. Lamentations 2:2. "Israel" is the name of Judah viewed as the covenant people. The swallowing or destruction of Israel is explained in the clauses which follow as a destruction of the palaces and fortresses. The mention of the palaces points to the destruction of Jerusalem, while the "fortresses" similarly indicate the destruction of the strong cities in the country. The interchange of the suffixes ־יה and ־יו is accounted for on the ground that, when the writer was thinking of the citadels, the city hovered before his mind; and when he regarded the fortresses, the people of Israel similarly presented themselves. The same interchange is found in Hosea 8:14; the assumption of a textual error, therefore, together with the conjectures based on that assumption, is shown to be untenable. On the expression, "He hath destroyed his strongholds," cf. Jeremiah 47:1-7 :18; on תּאניּה ואניּה, Isaiah 29:2 : in this latter case, two word-forms derived from the same stem are combined for the sake of emphasis. "Daughter of Judah," as in Lamentations 2:2, cf. Lamentations 1:15.
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