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Lamentations 1:2

Context

ב (Bet)

1:2 She weeps bitterly at night;

tears stream down her cheeks. 1 

She has no one to comfort her

among all her lovers. 2 

All her friends have betrayed her;

they have become her enemies.

Lamentations 1:16

Context

ע (Ayin)

1:16 I weep because of these things;

my eyes 3  flow with tears. 4 

For there is no one in sight who can comfort me 5 

or encourage me. 6 

My children 7  are desolated 8 

because an enemy has prevailed.

1 tn Heb “her tears are on her cheek.”

2 tn Heb “lovers.” The term “lovers” is a figurative expression (hypocatastasis), comparing Jerusalem’s false gods and foreign political alliances to sexually immoral lovers. Hosea uses similar imagery (Hos 2:5, 7, 10, 13). It may also function as a double entendre, first evoking a disconcerting picture of a funeral where the widow has no loved ones present to comfort her. God also does not appear to be present to comfort Jerusalem and will later be called her enemy. The imagery in Lamentations frequently capitalizes on changing the reader’s expectations midstream.

3 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.

4 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).

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

6 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).

7 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.

8 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).



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