Lamentations 4:7
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Her princes were purer than snow, whiter than milk; their bodies were more ruddy than coral, the beauty of their form was like sapphire.

King James Bible
Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:

American Standard Version
Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk; They were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Zain. Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.

English Revised Version
Her nobles were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was as of sapphire:

Webster's Bible Translation
Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:

Lamentations 4:7 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The misery that has come on the inhabitants of Jerusalem is a punishment for their deep guilt. The description given of this misery is divided into two strophes: for, first (Lamentations 4:1-6), the sad lot of the several classes of the population is set forth; then (Lamentations 4:7-11) a conclusion is drawn therefrom regarding the greatness of their sin.

Lamentations 4:1-6

The first strophe. Lamentations 4:1. The lamentation begins with a figurative account of the destruction of all that is precious and glorious in Israel: this is next established by the bringing forth of instances.

Lamentations 4:1-2

Lamentations 4:1, Lamentations 4:2 contain, not a complaint regarding the desolation of the sanctuary and of Zion, as Maurer, Kalkschmidt, and Thenius, with the lxx, assume, but, as is unmistakeably declared in Lamentations 4:2, a lamentation over the fearful change that has taken place in the fate of the citizens of Zion. What is stated in Lamentations 4:1 regarding the gold and the precious stones must be understood figuratively; and in the case of the "gold that has become dim," we can as little think of the blackening of the gilding in the temple fabric when it was burnt, as think of bricks (Thenius) when "the holy stones" are spoken of. The בּני ציּון (inhabitants of Zion), Lamentations 4:2, are likened to gold and sacred stones; here Thenius would arbitrarily change בּני into בּתּי (houses, palaces). This change not merely has no critical support, but is objectionable on the simple ground that there is not a single word to be found elsewhere, through all the chapter, concerning the destruction of the temple and the palaces; it is merely the fate of the men, not of the buildings, that is bewailed. "How is gold bedimmed!" יוּעם is the Hophal of עמם, to be dark, Ezekiel 28:3, and to darken, Ezekiel 31:8. The second clause, "how is fine gold changed!" expresses the same thing. שׁנא equals שׁנה, according to the Chaldaizing usage, means to change (oneself), Malachi 3:6. The growing dim and the changing refer to the colour, the loss of brilliancy; for gold does not alter in substance. B. C. Michaelis and Rosenmller are too specific when they explain that the gold represents populus Judaicus (or the potior populi Hebraei pars), qui (quae) quondam auri instar in sanctuario Dei fulgebat, and when they see in אבּני קדשׁ an allusion to the stones in the breast-plate of the high priest. Gold is generally an emblem of very worthy persons, and "holy stones" are precious stones, intended for a sacred purpose. Both expressions collectively form a figurative description of the people of Israel, as called to be a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. Analogous is the designation of the children of Israel as אבּני נזר, Zechariah 9:16 (Gerlach). השׁתּפּך, to be poured out (at all the corners of the streets), is a figurative expression, signifying disgraceful treatment, as in Lamentations 2:11. In Lamentations 4:2 follows the application of the figure to the sons (i.e., the citizens) of Zion, not merely the chief nobles of Judah (Ewald), or the princes, nor children in the narrowest sense of the word (Gerlach); for in what follows mention is made not only of children (Lamentations 4:3, Lamentations 4:4), but also of those who are grown up (Lamentations 4:5), and princes are not mentioned till Lamentations 4:7. As being members of the chosen people, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem have been held "dear," and "weighed out with gold," i.e., esteemed as of equal value with gold (cf. Job 28:16, Job 28:19); but now, when Jerusalem is destroyed, they have become regarded as earthenware pots, i.e., treated as if they were utterly worthless, as "a work of the hands of the potter," whereas Israel was a work of the hands of God, Isaiah 64:7. סלא equals סלה, cf. Job 28:16, Job 28:19 to weigh; Pual, be weighed out, as an equivalent.

Lamentations 4:7 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Nazarites

Numbers 6:2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite...

Judges 13:5,7 For, see, you shall conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head...

Judges 16:17 That he told her all his heart, and said to her, There has not come a razor on my head...

Amos 2:11,12 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O you children of Israel...

Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink...

purer

1 Samuel 16:12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and with of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said...

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Psalm 144:12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones...

Songs 5:10 My beloved is white and ruddy, the most chief among ten thousand.

Daniel 1:15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion...

their polishing. Gizrathom, rendered by Dr. Blayney, 'their veining,' from gazar, to divide, intersect, as the blue veins do the surface of the body. This is approved by Dr. A. Clarke, who remarks, 'Milk will most certainly well apply to the whiteness of the skin; the beautiful ruby to the ruddiness of the flesh; and the sapphire, in its clear, transcendent purple, to the veins in a fine complexion.'

Cross References
Exodus 24:10
and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.

Job 28:16
It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire.

Job 28:18
No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls.

Psalm 51:7
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

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