Lamentations 2:18
Their heart cried to the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give yourself no rest; let not the apple of your eye cease.
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(18) Their heart.—The possessive pronoun does not refer to any immediate antecedent, but points, with a wild abruptness, to the mourners of Zion. Yet more boldly their cry is an appeal to the “wall” of Zion (comp. Lamentations 2:8, and Isaiah 14:31), to take up its lamentation, as though it were a human mourner.

Like a river.—Better, like a torrent.

The apple of thine eye.—Literally, “the daughter,” as in the English phrase, the “pupil” of the eye.

Lamentations 2:18-19. Their heart cried unto the Lord — “The same,” says Blaney, “are the speakers here who are said to have made the foregoing remarks concerning the distressed condition of Jerusalem, namely, the passengers, (Lamentations 2:15,) whose hearts, being deeply affected with what they saw, urged them to break forth into the following passionate exclamation, addressed to the daughter of Zion.” O wall of the daughter of Zion — The Vulgate reads the verse, Clamavit cor eorum ad Dominum, super muros filiæ Sion, Deduc quasi torrentem lacrymas per diem et noctem; non des requiem tibi, neque taceat pupilla occuli tui: “Their heart hath cried unto the Lord concerning the walls of the daughter of Zion, Cause thy tears to descend, like a torrent, night and day; give thyself no rest, nor let the apple of thine eye be silent.” As the wall and rampart are said to lament, (Lamentations 2:8,) because their ruins were objects of lamentation; so here the ruined wall, including the ruined city and its inhabitants, is called upon, by a beautiful prosopopœia, to mourn and weep over the desolations of that place which God had chosen for his peculiar residence, and to entreat him to take compassion on its miseries. The original expression, rendered the apple of thine eye, is literally the daughter of thine eye; by which Blaney thinks is meant, not the pupil, but the tear, which, he says, may, with great propriety and elegance, be termed the daughter of the eye from which it issues. Arise, cry out in the night — Do not cease thy prayers and supplications even in the night season. In the beginning of the watches — The Jews divided the night, first into three, and in after ages into four watches: see Jdg 7:19; Matthew 14:25. Pour out thy heart like water before the Lord — Offer up thy earnest prayers with tears to the throne of grace; and send up thy very soul, and thy most devout affections along with them: see Psalm 62:8; 1 Samuel 7:6. Lift up thy hands for the life of thy young children — That they at least may be spared; (see Lamentations 2:11;) that faint in the top of every street — See the margin. The expression seems to mean the same as in every street.2:10-22 Causes for lamentation are described. Multitudes perished by famine. Even little children were slain by their mother's hands, and eaten, according to the threatening, De 28:53. Multitudes fell by the sword. Their false prophets deceived them. And their neighbours laughed at them. It is a great sin to jest at others' miseries, and adds much affliction to the afflicted. Their enemies triumphed over them. The enemies of the church are apt to take its shocks for its ruins; but they will find themselves deceived. Calls to lamentation are given; and comforts for the cure of these lamentations are sought. Prayer is a salve for every sore, even the sorest; a remedy for every malady, even the most grievous. Our business in prayer is to refer our case to the Lord, and leave it with him. His will be done. Let us fear God, and walk humbly before him, and take heed lest we fall.Their heart - That of the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The prophet bids the wall, as the representative of the people who had dwelt secure under its protection, shed floods of tears on their behalf. Broken up by the enemy, it could be their guardian no longer, but by its ruins it might still cry unto the Lord in their behalf.

A river - Or, a brook or torrent.

Rest - Properly, the torpor and numbness which follows upon excessive grief.

Apple of thine eye - See Psalm 17:8 note.

18. wall—(La 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.—(Jer 14:17). The wall is called on to weep for its own ruin and that of the city. Compare the similar personification (La 1:4).

apple—the pupil of the eye (Ps 17:8).


They cried unto God seriously, though not sincerely; from their heart, though not with their whole heart; either by the wall, or upon the wall, or (which is judged most probable) by occasion of the breaches made in the wall. Upon this he turns his discourse to the wall itself, and calls to it, or to those that were upon it, or near it, incessantly to mourn.

Let not the apple of thine eye cease; in the Hebrew it is, let not the daughter of thine eye cease. We call it the apple; the Latins, the pupil, or babe, of the eye. Their heart cried unto the Lord,.... Either the heart of their enemies, as Aben Ezra; which cried against the Lord, and blasphemed him; or rather the heart of the Jews in their distress, when they saw the walls of the city breaking down, they cried unto the Lord for help and protection, whether sincerely or not; no doubt some did; and all were desirous of preservation:

O wall of the daughter of Zion! this seems to be an address of the prophet to the people of Jerusalem carried captive, which was now without houses and inhabitants, only a broken wall standing, some remains and ruins of that; which is mentioned to excite their sorrow and lamentation:

let tears run down like a river, day and night; incessantly, for the destruction and desolation made:

give thyself no rest; or intermission; but weep continually:

let not the apple of thine eye cease; from pouring out tears; or from weeping, as the Targum; or let it not "be silent" (b), or asleep; but be open and employed in beholding the miseries of the nation, and in deploring them.

(b) "non taceat", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "ne sileat", Calvin, Michaelis.

Their heart cried unto the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.
18. “Their” has no antecedent, and the beginning of the v. is evidently corrupt in its harsh combination of assertion and exhortation, although the corruption, supported as it is by LXX and Syr. (so Vulg.), must be of long standing. The best emendation seems to be that of Ewald, who has the imperative Cry (ẓa‘ăḳi) for “cried” (ẓâ‘aḳ). We may continue with thy heart, or by a more drastic change, with thy voice. In any case “Zion” will end the first of the three lines. For the personification of “wall” see on Lamentations 2:8. While this application of metaphor goes far beyond Western habits of thought, we must yet recognise the power of the memories clinging to old walls, e.g. in Chester, in Venice, etc. See Adeney, op. cit. p. 172.

apple] pupil. Cp. Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8.Verse 18. - Their heart cried unto the Lord, etc. "Their heart" can only mean "the heart of the people of Jerusalem." For the expression, comp. Psalm 84:2, "My heart and my flesh cry aloud to the living God." To avoid the rather startling prosopopoeia in the next clause, Thenius supposes a corruption in the group of letters rendered "wall," and attaches the corrected word to the first clause, rendering thus: "Their heart crieth unto the Lord in vain; O daughter of Zion, let tears run down," etc. Another resource, which also involves an emendation, is that of Ewald, "Cry with all thy heart, O wall of the daughter of Zion." O wall, etc. The prosepopoeia is surprising, but is only a degree more striking than that of ver. 8 and Lamentations 1:4. In Isaiah 14:31 we find an equally strong one, "Howl, O gate." Most probably, however, there is something wrong in the text; the following verses seem to refer to the daughter of Zion. Bickell reads thus: "Cry aloud unto the Lord, O virgin daughter of Zion." Like a river; rather, like a torrent. Give thyself no rest. The word rendered "rest" means properly the stiffness produced by cold. The impotence of human comfort, and the mockery of enemies. Lamentations 2:11. The misery that has befallen the people is so fearful, that sorrow over it wears out one's life. "Mine eyes pine away because of tears," is the complaint of the prophet, not merely for himself personally, but in the name of all the godly ones. "Mine eyes pine" is the expression used in Psalm 69:4. On חמרמרוּ מעי, cf. Lamentations 1:20. The expression, "my liver is poured out on the earth," occurs nowhere else, and is variously explained. That the liver is fons sanguinis, and thus the seat of the animal life (Rosenmller, Thenius), cannot be made out from Proverbs 7:23. This passage rather forms a proof that among the Hebrews, according to a view widely prevalent in ancient times, the liver was considered the seat of sensual desire and lust (cf. Delitzsch's Bib. Psychology, Clark's translation, p. 316). But this view is insufficient as an explanation of the passage now before us. Besides, there are no proofs to show that "liver" is used for "heart," or even for "gall," although Job 16:13 is unwarrantably adduced in support of this position. A closely related expression, certainly, is found in Job 30:16; Psalm 42:5, where the soul is said to be poured out; but the liver is different from נפשׁ, the principle of the corporeal life. If the liver was called כּבד because, according to Galen, de usu partium, vi. 17 (in Gesen. Thes. p. 655), omnium viscerum et densissimum et gravissimum est, then it may be regarded, instead of מעים, as the chief bodily organ through which not merely lust, but also pain, is felt; and the pouring out of the liver on the earth may thus mean that the inner man is dissolved in pain and sorrow, - perishes, as it were, through pain. For it is evident from the context, and universally admitted, that it is the effect of pain in consuming the bodily organs that is here meant to be expressed. שׁבר בּת עמּי is a genuine Jeremianic expression (cf. Jeremiah 6:14; Jeremiah 8:11, Jeremiah 8:21, etc.), which again occurs in Lamentations 2:13, Lamentations 3:47-48, and Lamentations 4:10. In what follows, some harrowing details are given regarding the destruction of the daughter of Zion. בּעטף for בּהעטף, while (or because) children and sucklings were pining away on the streets of the city. This figure of heartrending misery is further carried out in Lamentations 2:12, for the purpose of vividly setting forth the terrible distress. Gerlach is wrong in thinking that the writer brings forward such sad scenes as would be likely to present themselves in the period immediately after the destruction of the city. For, the fact that, in Lamentations 2:10, the eye of the mourner is directed to the present, is far from being a proof that Lamentations 2:11 and Lamentations 2:12 also treat of the present; and the imperfect יאמרוּ, Lamentations 2:12, is not parallel in time with ישׁבוּ, Lamentations 2:12, but designates the repetition of the action in past time. "The children say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine?" i.e., Give us bread and wine, or, Where can we eat and drink? Corn and must (as in Jeremiah 31:12, etc.) are mentioned as the usual means of nourishment of the Israelites. דּגן, "corn," is used poetically for bread (cf. Psalm 78:24), - not pounded or roasted grain, which was used without further preparation (Thenius), and which is called קלי, Leviticus 23:14; 1 Samuel 17:17; 2 Samuel 17:28. The sucklings poured out their soul, i.e., breathed out their life, into the bosom of their mothers, i.e., hugging their mothers, although these could not give them nourishment; cf. Lamentations 4:4.
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