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Lamentations 4:5

Context

ה (He)

4:5 Those who once feasted on delicacies 1 

are now starving to death 2  in the streets.

Those who grew up 3  wearing expensive clothes 4 

are now dying 5  amid garbage. 6 

Lamentations 4:16

Context

פ (Pe)

4:16 The Lord himself 7  has scattered them;

he no longer watches over them.

They did not honor the priests; 8 

they did not show favor to the elders. 9 

1 tn Heb “eaters of delicacies.” An alternate English gloss would be “connoisseurs of fine foods.”

2 tn Heb “are desolate.”

3 tn Heb “were reared.”

4 tn Heb “in purple.” The term תוֹלָע (tola’, “purple”) is a figurative description of expensive clothing: it is a metonymy of association: the color of the dyed clothes (= purple) stands for the clothes themselves.

5 tn Heb “embrace garbage.” One may also translate “rummage through” (cf. NCV “pick through trash piles”; TEV “pawing through refuse”; NLT “search the garbage pits.”

6 tn The Hebrew word אַשְׁפַּתּוֹת (’ashpatot) can also mean “ash heaps.” Though not used as a combination elsewhere, to “embrace ash heaps” might also envision a state of mourning or even dead bodies lying on the ash heaps.

7 tn Heb “the face of the Lord.” The term פָּנֶה (paneh, “face”) is a synecdoche of part (= face) for the whole person (= the Lord himself). The phrase is often translated “the presence of the Lord.” The term “face” also functions anthropomorphically, depicting the invisible spirit God as though he had a physical face.

8 tc The MT reads the plural verb לֹא נָשָׂאוּ (lonasau, “they did not lift up”), Qal perfect 3rd person common plural from נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to lift up” the face); however, the ancient versions (LXX, Aramaic Targum, Latin Vulgate, Syriac Peshitta) have singular verbs, reflecting a Vorlage of לֹא נָשָׂא (lonasa’, “he did not lift up”), Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular from נָשָׂא (nasa’). D. R. Hillers suggests that the MT plural is an intentional scribe change, to avoid the appearance that God brought about evil on the priests and elders. Equally possible is that consonantal לא חננו (lkhnnv) should be revocalized as Qal passive perfect 3rd person common plural, and that כֹהֲנִים (kohanim, “the priests”) functions as the subject of a passive verb rather than the accusative direct object of an active verb: “(the faces of ) the priests were not lifted up.”

tn Heb “did not lift up.” The verb נָשָׂא (nasa’) means “to lift up” (the face); however, the specific contextual nuance here is probably “to show consideration” (e.g., Deut 28:50; Lam 4:16) (BDB 670 s.v. 1.b.3).

9 tc The MT reads the plural verb לֹא חָנָנוּ (lokhananu, “they did not show favor”), Qal perfect 3rd person common plural from חָנַן (khanan, “to show favor, be merciful”); however, the ancient versions (LXX, Aramaic Targum, Latin Vulgate, Syriac Peshitta) have singular verbs, reflecting a Vorlage of לֹא חָנַן (lokhanan, “he did not show favor”), Qal perfect 3rd person masculine singular from חָנַן (khanan). D. R. Hillers suggests that the MT plural is an intentional scribe change, to avoid the appearance that God brought about evil on the priests and elders. Equally possible is that consonantal לא חננו (lkhnnv) should be revocalized as Qal passive perfect 3rd person common plural, and that זְקֵנִים (zÿqenim, “the elders”) functions as the subject of a passive verb rather than the accusative direct object of an active verb: “the elders were not shown favor/mercy.”

tn The basic meaning of the verb חָנַן (khanan) is “to show favor [to], be gracious [to].” In some contexts this can mean “to spare” the lives of someone (Deut 7:2; 28:50; Job 19:21; Lam 4:16) (BDB 336 s.v. 1.c), though it is not clear whether that is the case here.



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