Lamentations 4:8
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Now their face is blacker than soot; they are not recognized in the streets; their skin has shriveled on their bones; it has become as dry as wood.

King James Bible
Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

American Standard Version
Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Heth. Their face is now made blacker than coals, and they are not known in the streets: their skin hath stuck to their bones, it is withered, and is become like wood.

English Revised Version
Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

Webster's Bible Translation
Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.

Lamentations 4:8 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 4:8 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

visage

Lamentations 5:10 Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.

Job 30:17-19,30 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest...

Joel 2:6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

Nahum 2:10 She is empty, and void, and waste: and the heart melts, and the knees smite together, and much pain is in all loins...

blacker than a coal. Heb. darker than blackness. Or, as Dr. Blayney renders, 'duskier than the dawn;' shachar signifying 'the dawn of the day, when it is neither light nor dark, but between both, at which time objects are not easily distinguished. they

Lamentations 4:1,2 How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street...

Ruth 1:19,20 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem...

Job 2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle...

Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonished at you; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

their skins

Job 19:20 My bone sticks to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

Job 33:21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.

Psalm 32:4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

Psalm 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.

Psalm 102:3-5,11 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth...

Psalm 119:83 For I am become like a bottle in the smoke; yet do I not forget your statutes.

Cross References
Luke 10:11
Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.'

Job 19:20
My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

Job 30:30
My skin turns black and falls from me, and my bones burn with heat.

Psalm 102:3
For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.

Psalm 102:5
Because of my loud groaning my bones cling to my flesh.

Lamentations 5:10
Our skin is hot as an oven with the burning heat of famine.

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