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Lamentations 1:5-6

Context

ה (He)

1:5 Her foes subjugated her; 1 

her enemies are at ease. 2 

For the Lord afflicted her

because of her many acts of rebellion. 3 

Her children went away

captive 4  before the enemy.

ו (Vav)

1:6 All of Daughter Zion’s 5  splendor 6 

has departed. 7 

Her leaders became like deer;

they found no pasture,

so they were too exhausted to escape 8 

from the hunter. 9 

1 tn Heb “her foes became [her] head” (הָיוּ צָרֶיהָ לְרֹאשׁ, hayu tsareha lÿrosh) or more idiomatically “have come out on top.” This is a Semitic idiom for domination or subjugation, with “head” as a metaphor for leader.

2 tn The nuance expressed in the LXX is that her enemies prosper (cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT).

3 tn Heb “because of her many rebellions.” The plural פְּשָׁעֶיהָ (pÿshaeha, “her rebellions”) is an example of the plural of repeated action or characteristic behavior (see IBHS 121 §7.4.2c). The 3rd person feminine singular suffix (“her”) probably functions as a subjective genitive: “her rebellions” = “she has rebelled.”

4 tn The singular noun שְׁבִי (shÿvi) is a collective singular, meaning “captives, prisoners.” It functions as an adverbial accusative of state: “[they] went away as captives.”

5 tn Heb “the daughter of Zion.” This phrase is used as an epithet for the city. “Daughter” may seem extraneous in English but consciously joins the various epithets and metaphors of Jerusalem as a woman, a device used to evoke sympathy from the reader.

6 tn Heb “all her splendor.” The 3rd person feminine singular pronominal suffix (“her”) functions as a subjective genitive: “everything in which she gloried.” The noun הָדָר (hadar, “splendor”) is used of personal and impersonal referents in whom Israel gloried: Ephraim (Deut 33:17), Jerusalem (Isa 5:14), Carmel (Isa 35:2). The context focuses on the exile of Zion’s children (1:5c) and leaders (1:6bc). The departure of the children and leaders of Jerusalem going away into exile suggested to the writer the departure of the glory of Israel.

7 tn Heb “It has gone out from the daughter of Zion, all her splendor.”

8 tn Heb “they fled with no strength” (וַיֵּלְכוּ בְלֹא־כֹחַ, vayelÿkhu bÿlo-khoakh).

9 tn Heb “the pursuer” or “chaser.” The term רָדַף (“to chase, pursue”) here refers to a hunter (e.g., 1 Sam 26:20). It is used figuratively (hypocatastasis) of military enemies who “hunt down” those who flee for their lives (e.g., Gen 14:15; Lev 26:7, 36; Judg 4:22; Ps 7:6; 69:27; 83:16; 143:3; Isa 17:13; Lam 5:5; Amos 1:11).



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