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Lamentations 4:19-20

Context

ק (Qof)

4:19 Those who pursued us were swifter

than eagles 1  in the sky. 2 

They chased us over the mountains;

they ambushed us in the wilderness.

ר (Resh)

4:20 Our very life breath – the Lord’s anointed king 3 

was caught in their traps, 4 

of whom we thought, 5 

“Under his protection 6  we will survive among the nations.”

1 tn The bird referred to here could be one of several species of eagles, but more likely is the griffin-vulture (cf. NEB “vultures”). However, because eagles are more commonly associated with swiftness than vultures in contemporary English, “eagles” was used in the translation.

2 tn Or “in the heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

3 tn Heb “the anointed one of the Lord.” The term “king” is added in the translation to clarify the referent of the phrase “the Lord’s anointed.”

4 tn Heb “was captured in their pits.”

5 tn Heb “of whom we had said.”

6 tn Heb “under his shadow.” The term צֵל (tsel, “shadow”) is used figuratively here to refer the source of protection from military enemies. In the same way that the shade of a tree gives physical relief and protection from the heat of the sun (e.g., Judg 9:15; Job 40:22; Ps 80:11; Song 2:3; Ezek 17:23; 31:6, 12, 17; Hos 4:13; 14:8; Jon 4:5, 6), a faithful and powerful king can provide “shade” (= protection) from enemies and military attack (Num 14:19; Ps 91:1; Isa 30:2, 3; 49:2; 51:16; Jer 48:45; Lam 4:20).



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