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Lamentations 1:20

Context

ר (Resh)

1:20 Look, O Lord! I am distressed; 1 

my stomach is in knots! 2 

My heart is pounding 3  inside me.

Yes, I was terribly rebellious! 4 

Out in the street the sword bereaves a mother of her children; 5 

Inside the house death is present. 6 

Lamentations 2:11

Context

כ (Kaf)

2:11 My eyes are worn out 7  from weeping; 8 

my stomach is in knots. 9 

My heart 10  is poured out on the ground

due to the destruction 11  of my helpless people; 12 

children and infants faint

in the town squares.

1 tn Heb “because I have distress” (כִּי־צַר־לִי, ki-tsar-li).

2 tn Heb “my bowels burn” or “my bowels are in a ferment.” The verb חֳמַרְמָרוּ (khamarmaru) is an unusual form and derived from a debated root: Poalal perfect 3rd person common plural from III חָמַר (khamar, “to be red,” HALOT 330 s.v. III חמר) or Pe`al`al perfect 3rd person common plural from I חָמַר (khamar, “to ferment, boil up,” BDB 330 s.v. I חָמַר). The Poalal stem of this verb occurs only three times in OT: with פָּנִים (panim, “face,” Job 16:16) and מֵעִים (meim, “bowels,” Lam 1:20; 2:11). The phrase מֵעַי חֳמַרְמָרוּ (meay khamarmaru) means “my bowels burned” (HALOT 330 s.v.) or “my bowels are in a ferment,” as a euphemism for lower-intestinal bowel problems (BDB 330 s.v.). This phrase also occurs in later rabbinic literature (m. Sanhedrin 7:2). The present translation, “my stomach is in knots,” is not a literal equivalent to this Hebrew idiom; however, it is an attempt to approximate the equivalent English idiom.

3 tn The participle נֶהְפַּךְ (nehpakh), Niphal participle masculine singular הָפַךְ (hafakh, “to turn over”) functions verbally, referring to progressive present-time action (from the speaker’s viewpoint). The verb הָפַךְ (hafakh) is used here to describe emotional distress (e.g., Ezek 4:8).

4 tn Heb “because I was very rebellious.” The Hebrew uses an emphatic construction in which the root מָרַה (marah, “to rebel”) is repeated: מָרוֹ מָרִיתִי (maro mariti), Qal infinitive absolute from מָרָה (marah) followed by Qal perfect 1st person common singular from מָרָה (marah). When an infinitive absolute is used with a finite verb of the same root, it affirms the verbal idea (e.g., Gen 2:17; 18:10; 22:17; 31:15; 46:4; Num 16:13; 23:11; Judg 4:9; 15:13; 20:39; 1 Sam 2:30; 9:6; 2 Sam 24:24; Isa 6:9; Ezek 16:4). See IBHS 585-86 §35.3.1f.

5 tn Heb “in the street the sword bereaves.” The words “a mother of her children” are supplied in the translation as a clarification.

6 tn Heb “in the house it is like death.”

7 tn Heb “my eyes are spent” or “my eyes fail.” The verb כָּלָה (kalah) is used of eyes exhausted by weeping (Job 11:20; 17:5; Ps 69:4; Jer 14:6; 4:17), and means either “to be spent” (BDB 477 s.v. 2.b) or “to fail” (HALOT 477 s.v. 6). It means to have used up all one’s tears or to have worn out the eyes because of so much crying. It is rendered variously: “my eyes fail” (KJV, NIV), “my eyes are spent” (RSV, NRSV, NASB, NJPS), “my eyes are worn out” (TEV), and “my eyes are red” (CEV).

8 tn Heb “because of tears.” The plural noun דִּמְעוֹת (dimot, “tears”) is an example of the plural of intensity or repeated behavior: “many tears.” The more common singular form דִּמְעָה (dimah) normally functions in a collective sense (“tears”); therefore, the plural form here does not indicate simple plural of number.

9 tn Heb “my bowels burn” or “my bowels are in a ferment.” The verb חֳמַרְמְרוּ (khomarmÿru) is an unusual form and derived from a debated root: Poalal perfect 3rd person common plural from III חָמַר (khamar, “to be red,” HALOT 330 s.v. III חמר) or Pe`al`al perfect 3rd person common plural from I חָמַר (khamar, “to ferment, boil up,” BDB 330 s.v. I חָמַר). The Poalal stem of this verb occurs only three times in OT: with פָּנִים (panim, “face,” Job 16:16) and מֵעִים (meim, “bowels,” Lam 1:20; 2:11). The phrase חֳמַרְמְרוּ מֵעַיּ (khomarmÿru meay) means “my bowels burned” (HALOT 330 s.v.) or “my bowels are in a ferment,” as a euphemism for lower-intestinal bowel problems (BDB 330 s.v.). This phrase also occurs in later rabbinic literature (m. Sanhedrin 7:2). The present translation, “my stomach is in knots,” is not a literal equivalent to this Hebrew idiom; however, it is an attempt to approximate the equivalent English idiom.

10 tn Heb “my liver,” viewed as the seat of the emotions.

11 tn Heb “on account of the breaking.”

12 tn Heb “the daughter of my people.” Rather than a genitive of relationship (“daughter of X”), the phrase בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-ammi) is probably a genitive of apposition. The idiom “Daughter X” occurs often in Lamentations: “Daughter Jerusalem” (2x), “Daughter Zion” (7x), “Virgin Daughter Zion” (1x), “Daughter of My People” (5x), “Daughter Judah” (2x), and “Virgin Daughter Judah” (1x). In each case, it is a poetic description of Jerusalem or Judah as a whole. The idiom בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-ammi, lit., “daughter of my people” is rendered variously by the English versions: “the daughter of my people” (KJV, RSV, NASB), “my people” (NIV, TEV, CEV), and “my poor people” (NJPS). The metaphor here pictures the people as vulnerable and weak.



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