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Lamentations 1:16-17

Context

ע (Ayin)

1:16 I weep because of these things;

my eyes 1  flow with tears. 2 

For there is no one in sight who can comfort me 3 

or encourage me. 4 

My children 5  are desolated 6 

because an enemy has prevailed.

The Prophet Speaks:

פ (Pe)

1:17 Zion spread out her hands,

but there is no one to comfort her.

The Lord has issued a decree against Jacob;

his neighbors 7  have become his enemies.

Jerusalem has become

like filthy garbage 8  in their midst. 9 

1 tc The MT and several medieval Hebrew mss read עֵינִי עֵינִי (’eni, ’eni, “my eye, my eye”). However, the second עֵינִי (’eni) does not appear in several other medieval Hebrew mss, or in Old Greek, Syriac Peshitta or Latin Vulgate.

tn Heb “My eye, my eye.” The Hebrew text repeats the term for literary emphasis to stress the emotional distress of personified Jerusalem.

2 tn Heb “with water.” The noun מַּיִם (mayim, “water”) functions as an adverbial accusative of manner or impersonal instrument. The term מַּיִם (mayim, “water”) is a metonymy of material (= water) for the thing formed (= tears).

3 tn Heb “For a comforter is far from me.”

4 tn The phrase מֵשִׁיב נַפְשִׁי (meshiv nafshi, “one who could cause my soul to return”) is a Hebrew idiom that means “one who could encourage me.” The noun נַפְשִׁי (nafshi) refers to the whole person (e.g., Gen 27:4, 25; 49:6; Lev 26:11, 30; Num 23:10; Judg 5:21; 16:30; Isa 1:14; Lam 3:24). When used with the noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) the Hiphil הָשִׁיב (hashiv) of שׁוּב (shuv, “to turn, return”) means “to encourage, refresh, cheer” a person emotionally (Ruth 4:15; Pss 19:8; 23:3; Prov 25:13; Lam 1:11, 16, 19).

5 tn Heb “my sons.” The term “my sons” (בַנַי, banay) is a figurative description (hypocatastasis) of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem/Judah personified as the Lady Jerusalem’s children. Jerusalem mourns (and views) their devastation like a mother would her children.

6 tn The verb שָׁמֵם (shamem) means “to be desolated.” The verb is used used in reference to land destroyed in battle and left “deserted” (Isa 49:8; Ezek 33:28; 35:12, 15; 36:4). When used in reference to persons, it describes the aftermath of a physical attack, such as rape (2 Sam 13:20) or military overthrow of a city (Isa 54:1; Lam 1:13, 16; 3:11).

7 tn Heb “his neighbors,” which refers to the surrounding nations.

8 tn The noun II נִדָּה (niddah, “unclean thing”) has three basic categories of meaning: (1) biological uncleanness: menstruation of a woman (Lev 12:2, 5; 15:19-33 [9x]; Num 19:9, 13, 20; 31:23; Ezek 18:6; 22:10; 36:17); (2) ceremonial uncleanness: moral impurity and idolatry (Lev 20:21; 2 Chr 29:5; Ezra 9:11; Zech 13:1); and (3) physical uncleanness: filthy garbage (Lam 1:17; Ezek 7:19, 20).

9 tc The MT reads בֵּינֵיהֶם (bÿnehem, “in them” = “in their midst”). The BHS editors suggest that this is a textual corruption for בְּעֵינֵיהֶם (beenehem, “in their eyes” = “in their view”). The ע (ayin) might have dropped out due to orthographic confusion.

tn Or “in their eyes.” See the preceding tc note.



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