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Wesley's Notes on the Bible
1 How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! the stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
4:1 The top - Are scattered in the head of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!
4:2 Earthen pitchers - The nobles, the priests, and the good men, are looked upon no better than earthen vessels, the workmanship of an ordinary potter.
3 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.
4:3 Cruel - The Jewish women are become cruel to their children, or forced to appear so, having through the famine no milk to give them, nor any thing to relieve them. Ostriches - Like ostriches that lay their eggs, and leave them in the sand.
4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.
5 They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.
6 For the punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, that was overthrown as in a moment, and no hands stayed on her.
4:6 Of Sodom - Their punishment was greater, because more lingering, and gradual, whereas Sodom was overthrown in a moment, and that by no human hands that abode upon her, causing her a continued torment.
7 Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:
4:7 Nazarites - Her Nazarites in this place signify her separated ones, who either in respect of birth, education, estate, or place of magistracy, were distinguished from the rest of the people.
8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.
4:8 Not known - So that those who before knew them, do not know them now.
9 They that be slain with the sword are better than they that be slain with hunger: for these pine away, stricken through for want of the fruits of the field.
10 The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11 The LORD hath accomplished his fury; he hath poured out his fierce anger, and hath kindled a fire in Zion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.
12 The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.
13 For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her,
4:13 Priests - The ecclesiastical men were a great cause of the first and last destruction of Jerusalem. And so they are of most other places that come to ruin, through their neglect of their duty, or encouraging others in their wicked courses.
14 They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.
4:14 They - The prophets and priests wandered up and down the streets polluting themselves with blood, either the blood of the children which they slew, or the just men, mentioned ver.13, the slaughter of whom they either encouraged, or at least did not discourage; so that one could not touch a prophet or priest, but he must be legally polluted, and there were so many of them, that men could not walk in the streets, but he must touch some of them.
15 They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.
4:15 Touch not - The Jews that made conscience of keeping the law against touching dead bodies, cried to the other Jews to leave the city as themselves did, the city being now so full of dead bodies that they could not stay in it without polluting themselves.
16 The anger of the LORD hath divided them; he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, they favoured not the elders.
4:16 The anger - These words seem to be the language of their enemies triumphing over them. They - Their enemies had no regard to the most venerable persons among them.
17 As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us.
4:17 A nation - The Egyptians.
18 They hunt our steps, that we cannot go in our streets: our end is near, our days are fulfilled; for our end is come.
4:18 They - The Chaldeans.
19 Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven: they pursued us upon the mountains, they laid wait for us in the wilderness.
20 The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the LORD, was taken in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.
4:20 The anointed - Zedekiah, who though a bad man yet afforded some protection to the Jews. We said - We promised ourselves that though the land of Judah was encompassed with Pagan nations, yet through Zedekiah's valour and good conduct we should live comfortably.
21 Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Uz; the cup also shall pass through unto thee: thou shalt be drunken, and shalt make thyself naked.
4:21 Rejoice - The prophet speaks ironically, Rejoice; but thy joy shall be but for a little time. Drunken - Thou shalt be intoxicated with it, and make thyself naked as drunken men sometimes do.
22 The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he will visit thine iniquity, O daughter of Edom; he will discover thy sins.
4:22 Captivity - Not for thy past sins. Thy sins - By the punishment of them.