Lamentations 4:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
The breath of our nostrils, the LORD’s anointed, was captured in their pits, of whom we said, “Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.”

King James Bible
The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.

American Standard Version
The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of Jehovah, was taken in their pits; Of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Res. The breath of our mouth, Christ the Lord, is taken in our sins: to whom we said: Under thy shadow we shall live among the Gentiles.

English Revised Version
The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits; of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations.

Webster's Bible Translation
The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.

Lamentations 4:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

This judgment of wrath is a consequence of the sins of the prophets and priests (Lamentations 4:12-16), as well as of their vain trust on the help of man (Lamentations 4:17-20). Lamentations 4:12. The capture of Jerusalem by enemies (an event which none in all the world thought possible) has been brought on through the sins of the prophets and priests. The words, "the kings of the earth...did not believe that an enemy would come in at the gates of Jerusalem," are well explained by C. B. Michaelis, thus: reputando fortitudinem urbis, quae munitissima erat, tum defensorem ejus Jehovam, qui ab hostibus, ad internecionem caesis, urbem aliquoties, mirifice liberaverat, e.g., 2 Reg. 19:34. The words certainly form a somewhat overdrawn expression of deep subjective conviction; but they cannot properly be called a hyperbole, because the remark of Ngelsbach, that Jerusalem had been taken more than once before Nebuchadnezzar (1 Kings 14:26; 2 Kings 14:13.; 2 Chronicles 33:11; 2 Kings 23:33.), seems incorrect. For the occasions upon which Jerusalem was taken by Shishak and by Joash king of Israel (1 Kings 14 and 2 Kings 14) belong to those earlier times when Jerusalem was far from being so strongly fortified as it afterwards became, in the times of Uzziah, Jotham, and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 26:9; 2 Chronicles 27:3; 2 Chronicles 33:14). In 2 Chronicles 33:11, on the other hand, there is nothing said of Jerusalem being taken; and the capture by Pharaoh-Necho does not call for consideration, in so far as it forms the beginning of the catastrophe, whose commencement was thought impossible. Ewald wrongly connects Lamentations 4:13 with Lamentations 4:12 into one sentence, thus: "that an enemy would enter the gates of Jerusalem because of the sins of her prophets," etc. The meaning of these verses is thereby not merely weakened, but also misrepresented; and there is ascribed to the kings and inhabitants of the world an opinion regarding the internal evils of Jerusalem, which they neither pronounced nor could have pronounced.

Lamentations 4:12-14

Lamentations 4:12 contains an exclamation over the incredible event that has happened, and Lamentations 4:13 assigns the cause of it: the mediating and combining thought, "this incredible thing has happened," suggests itself. It has taken place on account of the sins of her prophets and priests, who have shed the blood of righteous men in Jerusalem. A historic proof of this is furnished in Jeremiah 26:7., where priests and prophets indicted Jeremiah on a capital charge, because he had announced that Jerusalem and the temple would suffer the fate of Shiloh; from this, Ngelsbach rightly concludes that, in any case, the burden of the guilt of the martyr-blood that was shed falls on the priests and prophets. Besides this, cf. the denunciations of the conduct of the priests and prophets in Jeremiah 6:13-15; Jeremiah 23:11; Jeremiah 27:10; Ezekiel 22:25. - In Lamentations 4:14, Lamentations 4:15, there is described the fate of these priests and prophets, but in such a way that Jeremiah has, throughout, mainly the priests before his mind. We may then, without further hesitation, think of the priests as the subject of נעוּ, inasmuch as they are mentioned last. Kalkschmidt wrongly combines Lamentations 4:13 and Lamentations 4:14, thus: "because of the sins of the prophets...they wander about," etc.; in this way, the Israelites would be the subject to נעוּ, and in Lamentations 4:14 the calamitas ex sacerdotum prophetarumque sceleribus profecta would be described. This, however, is contradicted, not merely by the undeniable retrospection of the expression, "they have polluted themselves with blood" (Lamentations 4:14), to the shedding of blood mentioned in Lamentations 4:13, but also by the whole contents of Lamentations 4:14, especially the impossibility of touching their clothes, which does not well apply to the people of Israel (Judah), but only to the priests defiled with blood. Utterly erroneous is the opinion of Pareau, Ewald, and Thenius, that in Lamentations 4:14-16 there is "presented a fragment from the history of the last siege of Jerusalem," - a rupture among the besieged, headed by the most eminent of the priests and prophets, who, filled with frenzy and passion against their fellow-citizens, because they would not believe in the speedy return of the exiles, became furious, and caused their opponents to be murdered. Regarding this, there is neither anything historical known, nor is there any trace of it to be discovered in these verses. The words, "prophets and priests hesitated (or wavered) like blind men on the streets, soiled with blood, so that none could touch their clothes," merely state that these men, smitten of God in consequence of their blood-guiltiness, wandered up and down in the streets of the city, going about like blind men. This description has been imitated from such passages as Deuteronomy 28:28., Jeremiah 23:12; Isaiah 29:9, where the people, and especially their leaders, are threatened, as a punishment, with blind and helpless staggering; but it is not to be referred to the time of the last siege of Jerusalem. עורים does not mean caedium perpetrandarum insatiabili cupiditate occaecati (Rosenmller), nor "as if intoxicated with blood that has been shed" (Ngelsbach), but as if struck with blindness by God, so that they could no longer walk with firm and steady step. "They are defiled with blood" is a reminiscence from Isaiah 59:3. As to the form נגאל, compounded of the Niphal and Pual, cf. Ewald, 132, b, and Delitzsch on Isaiah, l.c. בּלא יוּכלוּ, without one being able, i.e., so that one could not. As to the construction of יכול with a finite verb following, instead of the infinitive with ל, cf. Ewald, 285, c, c, and Gesenius, 142, 3, b.

Lamentations 4:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

breath

Lamentations 2:9 Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles...

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 44:30 Now therefore when I come to your servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life;

2 Samuel 18:3 But the people answered, You shall not go forth: for if we flee away, they will not care for us; neither if half of us die...

the anointed

1 Samuel 12:3,5 Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose donkey have I taken...

1 Samuel 16:6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the LORD's anointed is before him.

1 Samuel 24:6,10 And he said to his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the LORD's anointed...

1 Samuel 26:9,16 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be guiltless...

2 Samuel 1:14,21 And David said to him, How were you not afraid to stretch forth your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed...

2 Samuel 19:21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered and said, Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed?

Psalm 89:20,21 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him...

was taken

Jeremiah 39:5 But the Chaldeans' army pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him...

Jeremiah 52:8 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after the king, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho...

Ezekiel 12:13 My net also will I spread on him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans...

Ezekiel 17:18 Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, see, he had given his hand, and has done all these things...

Ezekiel 19:4-8 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt...

Cross References
Genesis 2:7
then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

2 Samuel 1:14
David said to him, "How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?"

2 Samuel 19:21
Abishai the son of Zeruiah answered, "Shall not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD's anointed?"

2 Chronicles 35:25
Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah; and all the singing men and singing women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a rule in Israel; behold, they are written in the Laments.

Jeremiah 39:5
But the army of the Chaldeans pursued them and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. And when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, at Riblah, in the land of Hamath; and he passed sentence on him.

Jeremiah 52:9
Then they captured the king and brought him up to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, and he passed sentence on him.

Daniel 4:12
Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

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