Lamentations 5:10
Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
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(10) Our skin was black . . .-Better, fiery red, and for “terrible famine,” the fever-blast of famine. The words paint the hot fever of hunger rather than the livid paleness of exhaustion.

5:1-16 Is any afflicted? Let him pray; and let him in prayer pour out his complaint to God. The people of God do so here; they complain not of evils feared, but of evils felt. If penitent and patient under what we suffer for the sins of our fathers, we may expect that He who punishes, will return in mercy to us. They acknowledge, Woe unto us that we have sinned! All our woes are owing to our own sin and folly. Though our sins and God's just displeasure cause our sufferings, we may hope in his pardoning mercy, his sanctifying grace, and his kind providence. But the sins of a man's whole life will be punished with vengeance at last, unless he obtains an interest in Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree.Our skin ... - Or, is fiery red like an oven because of the fever-blast "of famine." 10. As an oven is scorched with too much fire, so our skin with the hot blast of famine (Margin, rightly, "storms," like the hot simoom). Hunger dries up the pores so that the skin becomes like as if it were scorched by the sun (Job 30:30; Ps 119:83). The want of bread caused leanness, and paleness, and ill colours in their faces.

Our skin was black like an oven, because of the terrible famine. Or "terrors and horrors of famine"; which are very dreadful and distressing: or, "the storms of famine"; see Psalm 11:6; or, "burning winds" (u); such as are frequent in Africa and Asia; to which the famine is compared that was in Jerusalem, at the siege of it, both by the Chaldeans and Romans; and as an oven, furnace, or chimney becomes black by the smoke of the fire burnt in it, or under it; so the skins of the Jews became black through these burning winds and storms, or burnings of famine; see Lamentations 4:8. So Jarchi says the word has the signification of "burning"; for famine as it were burns up the bodies of men when most vehement.

(u) "horrorum famis", Montanus; "terrores, vel tremores", Vatablus; "procellas famis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "exustiones", Pagninus, Calvin; "adustiones famis", Stockius, p. 281.

Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.
10. The feverishness and wasting brought on by hunger is meant.

black] or as mg. hot.

Verse 10. - Was black like an oven. The translation is misleading; there is no real parallel to Lamentations 4:8. Render, gloweth. It is the feverish glow produced by gnawing hunger which is meant. The terrible famine; rather, the burning heat of hunger. Hariri, the humoristic author of the cycle of stories in rhymed Arabic prose and verse, called 'Makamat,' puts into the mouth of his ne'er do well Abu Seid very similar words to describe a famished man -

"Dess Eingeweide brennend nach Erquickung sehrein,
Der nichts gegessen seit zwei Tagen oder drein."

(Ruckert's adaptation, third Makama.) Lamentations 5:10The bread which we are thus obliged to struggle for, at the risk of our life, is not even sufficient to allay hunger, which consumes our bodies. נכמר does not mean to be blackened (Chaldee, Kimchi, C. B. Michaelis, Maurer), but in Genesis 43:30; 1 Kings 3:26, and Hosea 11:8, to be stirred up (of the bowels, compassion), hence to kindle, glow. This last meaning is required by the comparison with תּנּוּר, oven, furnace. This comparison does not mean cutis nostra tanquam fornace adusta est (Gesenius in Thes., Kalkschmidt), still less "black as an oven" (Dietrich in Ges. Lex.), because תּנּוּר does not mean the oven viewed in respect of its blackness, but (from נוּר) in respect of the fire burning in it. The meaning is, "our skin glows like a baker's oven" (Vaihinger, Thenius, Ngelsbach, Gerlach), - a strong expression for the fever-heat produced by hunger. As to זלעפות, glowing heat, see on Psalm 11:6.
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