Lamentations 5:16
The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!
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(16) The crown is fallen.—The phrase is naturally symbolic of degradation, and need not be restricted to the destruction of the Temple or the devastation of Jerusalem.

We have sinned!—The confession of personal sinfulness produced by the contemplation of the miseries of the people contrasts, as has been already noticed, with the half-complaining tone of Lamentations 5:7.

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.Literally, "The crown of our head is fallen," i. e. what was our chief ornament and dignity is lost; the independence of the nation, and all that gave them rank and honor. 16. The crown—all our glory, the kingdom and the priesthood (Job 19:9; Ps 89:39, 44). Or, The crown of our head is fallen, by which is not only to be understood the cessation of their kingdom, but all their honour, splendour, and dignity (crown being taken in a metaphorical notion).

Woe unto us, that we have sinned! we must thank ourselves for all this, this woe is come upon us because of our sins·

The crown is fallen from our head,.... Or, "the crown of our head is fallen" (a); all their honour and glory as a nation were gone; the glory of their kingdom and priesthood, to both which a crown or mitre belonged; the glory of church and state. Aben Ezra interprets it of the temple, the place of the divine Majesty. Sanctius thinks there is an allusion to the crowns they wore upon their heads at their feasts and festivals; and so the words have a close connection with what goes before:

woe unto us that we have sinned! which had brought all these evils upon them: this is not to be considered as an imprecation or denunciation of misery; but as a commiseration of their case; calling upon others to it, and particularly God himself, to have mercy upon them; for, alas for them! they had sinned, and justly deserved what was come upon them; and therefore throw themselves at the feet of mercy, and implore divine compassion.

(a) "cecidit corona capitis nostri", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!
16. The crown is fallen from our head] Our honour is brought to the dust.

Verse 16. - The crown is fallen, etc.; rather, the crown of our head is fallen. The Jewish people is compared to a rich man at a banquet, crowned with a diadem (comp. Isaiah 28:1). Jeremiah has a similar phrase in his prophecies (Jeremiah 13:18). It evidently expresses figuratively the prosperity and honour formerly enjoyed by the now vanquished people. Lamentations 5:16Under the pressure of such circumstances, all public meetings and amusements have ceased. "The elders cease from the fate." The gate was the place of assembly for the people, not merely for deliberating upon public affairs (Ruth 4:15; Joshua 20:4), but also "for social entertainment (since there were no refreshment-rooms, coffeehouses, and public baths, such as are now to be found in the East), or even for quiet enjoyment in looking at the motley multitude of passers-by; Genesis 19:1; 1 Samuel 4:18; 1 Samuel 9:18; Job 29:7" (Winer's Bibl. R.W.B. s.v. Thor). That the gate is here to be regarded as a place of entertainment and amusement, is shown by the parallel member, "young men cease from their instrumental music;" cf. Lamentations 1:4. On Lamentations 5:15, cf. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9, and Jeremiah 31:13; Psalm 30:12. Lastly, in Lamentations 5:16, the writer sums up the whole of the misery in the complaint, "The crown of our head is fallen! woe unto us, for we have sinned," i.e., we suffer the punishment for our sins. "The fallen crown can only be a figurative expression for the honourable position of the people in its entirety, but which is now lost." Such is the view which Ewald rightly takes; on the other hand, the interpretation of Thenius, that "the 'crown of our head' is nothing else than Zion, together with its palaces, placed on Jerusalem, as it were on the head [of the country], and adorning it," deserves mention simply as a curious specimen of exegetical fancy. Ngelsbach has gone too far in restricting the figurative expression to the crown of Jerusalem, which consists in her being mistress among the nations, a princess among the regions of the earth (Lamentations 1:1), the perfection of beauty, and the joy of the whole earth (Lamentations 2:15); for "our crown" is not equivalent to Jerusalem, or a crown on the head of Jerusalem.
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