Lamentations 4:2
How the precious sons of Zion, once worth their weight in pure gold, are now esteemed as jars of clay, the work of a potter's hands!
Precious Sons...Fine Gold,...Become Earthen PitchersJ.R. Thomson Lamentations 4:2
Fallen ReputationD. Young Lamentations 4:1, 2
Dimming of the GoldJ. Parker, D. D.Lamentations 4:1-12
Gold Become DimJ. W. Earnshaw.Lamentations 4:1-12
Spiritual DeclensionJ. B. Owen, M. A.Lamentations 4:1-12
The Lustre of Humanity DimmedW. Tucker.Lamentations 4:1-12
The Spoiling of HumanityG. W. Conder.Lamentations 4:1-12
Excellence of the Christian CharacterJ. Jeffrey.Lamentations 4:2-12
Grievous PunishmentJ. Udall.Lamentations 4:2-12
Men Lightly EsteemedJ. Udall.Lamentations 4:2-12
The Character, Excellence, and Estimate of the PiousSketches of Four Hundred SermonsLamentations 4:2-12
The Delicate are DesolateJ. Udall.Lamentations 4:2-12
The Heavenly and the Earthly Estimates of Good MenHomilistLamentations 4:2-12
The Incredible Things of LifeJ. Parker, D. D.Lamentations 4:2-12

The prophet's appreciation of the proper dignity and value of his nation was naturally very exalted; in proportion were his sorrows and humiliation when his country rebelled against the Lord, and became, in consequence, a prey to the despised and hated foreigner. The reflections are applicable, not to Judah only, but to all the sinful and rebellious among men; for there is no escape from the action of the moral law, from the chastisement of the righteous Judge.

I. THE TRUE VALUE AND PROPER DIGNITY OF MAN. Comparable to "fine gold" in beauty, preciousness, and use, is our humanity when in the state designed by the Creator, free from the corroding rust of sin, and minted and stamped with the image and superscription of the Most High.

II. SIN INVOLVES CHASTISEMENT, AND CHASTISEMENT BRINGS DISGRACE. The striking contrast between gold, fine and solid, on the one hand, and "earthen pitchers" on the other hand, is a pictorial and effective representation of the change which took place in Judah. A holy nation, a kingdom of priests, the chosen of the Eternal, was reduced to the level of the poorest, meanest tribe vanquished and despoiled by an unsparing enemy. Here, as so often, the chosen nation was an emblem of humanity. For though man be by nature the sublimest of God's creatures, when he is abandoned to sin and all its consequences he sinks below the level of the brutes. APPLICATION. Only Divine grace and power can restore the beauty and dignity of which sin has robbed humanity. The gospel of Christ transforms the earthen pitcher into the fine gold of the sanctuary. - T.

The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers!
I. THE HEAVENLY ESTIMATE OF GOOD MEN. Good men have a golden value in the estimation of heaven.

1. Their principles are intrinsically valuable. They are men of truth, justice, benevolence, worship.

2. Their influence is socially valuable. They are the salt of the earth, the light of the world.

3. Their privileges are infinitely valuable. All things are theirs. Angels are their servants; Christ is their Redeemer; the Lord is their portion.

II. THE WORLDLY ESTIMATE OF GOOD MEN. "How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers?"

1. This estimate has ever been lamentably common.

2. This estimate indicates great moral degeneracy. The human soul is constituted to value the true, to admire the excellent, to worship Divine virtues wherever they exist.

3. This estimate entails fearful spiritual evils. The virtues of the good are the world's uplifting powers. Where they are ignored their salutary influence is not felt.


Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
I. THE CHARACTERS DESCRIBED. "The precious sons of Zion."

1. Zion is their spiritual birthplace. Being "begotten again," they have received the spirit of sons (Galatians 4:6), and now aspire after the "better country" to which the sons of Zion are entitled (Isaiah 35:10; Hebrews 11:16).

2. They acknowledge their great and growing obligations to Zion.

3. They are devoted to the interests of Zion. Gratitude, piety, benevolence, prompt them to promote the prosperity of the Church, by persuasion, etc.; and by their example and their prayers (Psalm 122:6-9; Isaiah 62:1; Matthew 5:14-16; Romans 12:1).

4. They are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of Zion. They are "free" (Galatians 4:31); "are fellow citizens with the saints," etc. (Ephesians 2:19). And the unfailing word of Zion's King secures to her protection (Isaiah 26:1); provision (Psalm 132:15); support (Isaiah 35:3, 4); comfort (Psalm 132:16); and eternal glory (Isaiah 60:14-20).


1. In respect of its purity. "Comparable to fine gold"; which is gold that has undergone a certain process of purification, to clear it from dross, and thus make it more fine, solid, strong, and useful. So the saints have all experienced "the renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5); and their hearts are purified by faith (Acts 15:9).

2. In respect of its value. Gold is of "the precious metals" the most precious, i.e., of highest price. The text speaks of fine gold, of the best quality; and therefore most valuable. In this sense Zion's sons are precious; possessing intrinsic excellence. They are partakers of precious grace (2 Peter 1:1); which they exercise on precious promises (2 Peter 1:4); which promises have respect to a precious Saviour (1 Peter 2:5-7); by whose precious blood they are redeemed (1 Peter 1:19).

3. In respect of its utility. The true sons of Zion are greatly useful, on account of their excellent principles of philanthropy and social order, uniting the different classes and members of society, and promoting the welfare of the whole (1 Timothy 2:1-4). Whence results the excellence of their practice; as rulers (2 Samuel 23:1-3); parents (Ephesians 6:4); masters (Colossians 4:1); subjects (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17); children (Ephesians 6:1-3); servants (Ephesians 6:5-7); doing evil to none (Romans 12:17); but good to all. "If thine enemy hunger, feed him," etc. And they are valuable also, on account of their piety and their prayers.

4. In respect of its honour. Gold has been employed in presents to the most honourable persons (1 Kings 10:2, 10; Matthew 2:11); and in the most honourable services; whether civil (Psalm 14:9, 13); or sacred (Exodus 25:11-22; 2 Chronicles 3:3-11). The pious are highly honourable in the estimation of those who are proper judges of what constitutes an honourable character.

III. THE ESTIMATION IN WHICH THE SONS OF ZION ARE TOO OFTEN HELD. "How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers," etc.; as mean, worthless, despicable things! This false estimate of the pious happens, because Satan employs all his craft and all his agency to obscure the excellence of truth and piety; and to gild with a false and beguiling lustre what is wrong and wicked.

1. Their principles are misnamed. Their humility is meanness; their forbearance and meekness, pusillanimity, weakness, etc. On the other hand, their zeal is rashness; their firmness, obstinacy; their piety, enthusiasm, etc.

2. Their motives are suspected. Of the Redeemer Himself it was said, "He is a bad man, and deceiveth the people."

3. Their conduct is misrepresented. "Prejudice has neither eyes nor ears" to discover merit; but it whets the tongue of slander, to mangle, disfigure, and distort innocent actions; and then to inflict censure and condemnation.(1) In our estimate of character let us not judge from common report; but from our own observation.(2) Nor by the maxims of the world; but by those of God's Word. Many, of whom the world was not worthy," have "wandered in sheepskins," etc.(3) Nor be solicitous of the honour that cometh from men; but "the honour that cometh from God only" (John 5:41-44).

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

I. The sons of Zion are comparable to fine gold. In its refined state gold is so freed from alloy or dross, that among the metals it is esteemed the PUREST; and if there be one feature in the Christian more prominent and distinguishing than another, it is his purity at once of heart and fife. Between Christians and iniquity there is an ever-widening distance, an ever-increasing opposition; and although, like the finest gold, which still contains some portion of alloy, they are never in this life absolutely free from impurity, they are yet, with an unwavering steadiness of purpose, putting it progressively away from them, and becoming clothed with that righteousness which in eternity shall shine in unspotted whiteness. Sin, in every shape and under every guise, is the object of their deep and confirmed abhorrence; and because of the love, and faith, and hope which they sedulously cultivate, they are so gradually approximating in resemblance to Him of whose spirit they are the living temples, that they exhibit so many reflections of that moral beauty by which the Godhead is adorned, and are the types of that holiness which, undimmed and infinite, reigns triumphantly in heaven.

II. But gold is distinguished also for its VALUE. This arises from its rarity, from its intrinsic worth, and from its utility; and, in these several respects, the comparison between it and "the sons of Zion" may be illustrated.

1. First, then, the Christian is comparable to gold in respect of scarcity. Not profusely enriching every land, nor to be found imbedded in every soil, the golden ore is discoverable but in few countries; and, in like manner, of the earth's inhabitants, the sons of God's spiritual Zion form small and insignificant proportion.

2. Christians are comparable to pure gold, next, as respects their intrinsic value. Estimated, indeed, on the principles which guide the world's judgment, they, in general, have less to recommend them than many of their unregenerated and ungodly neighbours; but looked at as delineated by the Spirit of revelation, and judged according to the standard by which the destinies of creation are to be decided, they are a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people."

3. The Christian is comparable to fine gold also in respect of utility. By this, indeed, the value of an object is usually estimated; and as gold, when freely and plentifully circulated, promotes the general comfort and happiness, so "the sons of Zion," by the sanctity and blamelessness of their lives, exert a most beneficial influence upon society. With the influence of consistent and persevering example, every individual is acquainted. It challenges to imitation; it is a living commentary upon the excellence and power of principle; and where it is not successful in exciting to kindred action, it usually has majesty enough to awe and to rebuke the gainsayer into silence. And if we would properly comprehend the influence which, in this respect, Christians exercise upon the community at large, we have only to look at them moving within the circle of a family or a neighbourhood. Suppose multitude of such men, the same in character, the same in consistency, pervading society throughout the land, mingling in the market place, frequenting the marts of trade, labouring in the manufactory and in the workshop; and when you think of the innate depravity of the human heart, and the inherent tendency of sin to propagate itself, is it not clear that they are the salt which preserves the whole mass from rottenness, — the preservatives of the community from moral putrefaction and decay?

(J. Jeffrey.)

1. The greatest reputation that man can attain unto in this life, is an uncertain estate, and easily taken away (Psalm 49:12).


(a)There is no certainty in anything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

(b)God setteth up, and putteth down, at His pleasure (Daniel 4:29).

(c)He that useth his prosperous estate best, deserveth continually to have it taken from him.

(2)Use: to teach us not to admire the glorious estate of man that is in honour, seeing it is most fickle; not to set our hearts upon anything we enjoy in this world, but to use the things thereof as if we used them not.

2. Those whom God hath advanced in authority above others, are to be reverenced and honoured above others.

(1)They represent the person of God Himself.

(2)They have that power and authority which should work a reverent fear and awe of them in the hearts of others.

3. It is a worthy thing in great men to be adorned with good qualities, so far exceeding others as their calling is above them.

(1)They shall be the more able to carry themselves aright in their place.

(2)They shall procure the greater reverence unto their place thereby.

4. It is marvellous in the judgment of flesh and blood to see a man of highest estimation come to be of the basest account.

(J. Udall.)

They that did feed delicately are desolate
1. It is often the lot of God's people to spend the former part of their life in much worldly pleasure, and the latter in great misery.(1) Because many have their share in the world till they be called to the knowledge of Christ, which is often at the ninth or last hour.(2) God seeth it meet to let many of His children have experience of good and evil.(3) It is the nature of our corruptions to lead us to abuse prosperity, which God, will punish in His children in this life.

2. Many are most delicately brought up, that afterward come to great want and extremity.(1) Their parents make fondlings of them, and do not put them to any lawful work in their youth, and so they prove unfit for any in their age.(2) God will punish both the folly of the parents, and the vanity of the children, for the example of others.(3) Disordered education increaseth the number and height of sin, which must needs pull in the punishments for sin after it.

3. In a general calamity, they are most subject to ruin that in time of prosperity are freest from it by their abundance of worldly things.(1) They are most likely to have committed the greatest sins in the abuse of God's blessings.(2) They have least exercised themselves in the ways to escape danger; persuading themselves to escape if any do.(3) The riches of the wealthiest are the things that spoilers set their eyes most upon: for which they will be most extreme with the owners thereof.

(J. Udall.)

For the punishment of the greater
1. The godly do usually sustain more grievous punishments in this fife than any others.

2. Man never sustaineth any punishment in this fife, but such as he justly deserveth by his own sins.

3. That is the greatest punishment which man can suffer in this life, which is of longest continuance, though it be not the severest in itself.(1) A short punishment, though heavier, doth not kill the heart so much.(2) Satan can work many things in time, which of a sudden he cannot.(3) The consideration of the length of time giveth matter of strong temptations to despair or revolt from the truth.

(J. Udall.)

The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed.
The "impossible" is not impossible, the incredible may come to he true, that which revolts the sense and shocks the feeling may become a commonplace of fife. Let us illustrate this.

1. All the neighbourhood, all the friends and acquaintances, would not have believed that the great rich man to whom scores were mean and hundreds trifles could have come to beg his bread. But it is possible. Riches take to themselves wings and flee away. Take heed! It is right to be rich, very rich, but it is wrong for the riches to be master of the man; hold them, so that coming or going they never interfere with prayer, with faith, with charity, with noble, generous love; they are servants, helpers, great assistants in the philanthropic cause: hold them so, and you never can be poor. "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." Pause and consider, and put things wisely and solidly together, and say, These things are but for a moment; for a moment's use they are invaluable, but as securities, towers, defences, rather let me entangle myself in some elaborate cobweb, and trust to that against God's lightning and thunder.

2. Who would believe that the great strong man, whose every bone is, as it were, wrought iron, should one day be glad of the help of a little child? How humbling! how instructive! You may accost him, and ask him if he remembers the time when he could have lifted a man in each hand and felt he was not doing anything in particular as an exercise of strength; and with a hollow laugh he will say, Ay, I remember! How now? the sinews melted, the bones no longer iron, the great frame bent down, the sunken eyes peering for a grave. What did this? Ill-conduct? No. Wastefulness of strength and energy? No. What did it? Silent, insidious, mighty Time.

3. who could believe that a man of great capacity and great judgment in all earthly things should come to be unable to give a rational opinion upon the affairs of the day? Impossible, say you. How godlike in reason! How all but infinite in faculty! He will be to the last bright as a star. What if he stumble at noonday? what if he forget his own name? What if he cannot tell where his own house is? and what if they who trusted him aforetime so implicitly should say, Poor soul! he is gone; it is no use looking in that quarter for wisdom or direction; his genius is dead; alas! but so it is? It that be so, why should we not learn from that fact, and work while it is called day, for the night cometh wherein no man can work? Redeem the time, buy up the opportunity, knowing that our brightest genius shall be eclipsed, our strongest sagacity shall lose its penetration, and our judgment shall halt for the judgment of others.

4. Who of us cannot name men who, if they were to fail in moral completeness, in probity, in honour, in truthfulness, would shake Society to its base? What! every word a hollow word, every action a selfish calculation, every attitude part of a fraud and conspiracy, every generous deed a new bid for self-promotion, — signatures forsworn, bends broken, by such men? Never! It is impossible, incredible; the suggestion is born of the pit. We are right in so saying. Have no faith in men who cannot he fired into godly anger when they hear great reputations assailed and when they see great characters slurred and defamed. At the same time let us learn from history. Great men have fallen from high moral excellence. He — the unnamed — "the starry leader of the seven" — fell from heaven. Some angels "kept not their first estate." With these wrecks before us, what is our course of wisdom? Lot us trust under the wings of the Almighty, let us live within the shadow of His presence, let us be hidden in His pavilion; then, come weal, come woe, our end will be heaven: — say ye to the righteous, It shall be well with him, however black the immediate cloud, however storm-laden the immediate outlook.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Jeremiah, Nazarites
Edom, Jerusalem, Sodom, Uz, Zion
Best, Bottles, Clay, Comparable, Considered, Earthen, Esteemed, Fine, Gold, Hands, Jars, Pitchers, Pots, Potter, Potter's, Precious, Price, Reckoned, Regarded, Sons, Valued, Vessels, Weighed, Weight, Worth, Zion
1. Zion bewails her pitiful estate
13. She confesses her sins
21. Edom is threatened and Zion comforted.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Lamentations 4:2

     4315   clay
     5445   potters and pottery

Lamentations 4:1-2

     4333   gold

A Message from God for Thee
Our two messages we will try to deliver in their order; we shall then want your attention and patience for a minute while we answer the question--Why the difference? and then we will press upon each character the force of the message, that each may be led to believe what is addressed to him. I. Our FIRST MESSAGE IS ONE OF COMFORT. "The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; he will no more carry thee away into captivity." 1. We find, at the outset, a joyous fact. Read it
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 8: 1863

1875-1877. Mrs. Way's Sewing --Class for Jewesses --Bible Flower Mission --George Clarice --Incidents in Home Work --The Lord's Day --Diary at Sea -- Letters of Cheer
Mrs. Way's sewing--class for Jewesses--Bible Flower Mission--George Clarice--Incidents in home work--The Lord's Day--Diary at sea-- Letters of cheer from Canada. The Home of Industry has been already likened to the Pool of Bethesda with its fine porches. Many sights there have been peculiar to itself, and in no instance has this in past years been more remarkable, than in the meeting for Jewesses, which has been carried on ever since the year 1870. From fifty to seventy daughters of Israel are gathered
Clara M. S. Lowe—God's Answers

The Children of the Poor.
THE CHILDREN OF THE POOR. The young children ask bread, and no man breaketh it unto them.--LAMENTATIONS iv., 4. The writer of these words bewailed a state of War and Captivity--a state of things in which the great relations of human life are broken up and desecrated. But it is strange to find that the most flourishing forms of civilization involve conditions very similar to this. For, if any man will push beyond the circle of his daily associations, and enter the regions of the abject poor, he will
E. H. Chapin—Humanity in the City

It Will be Attempted to Give a Complete List of his Writings In
chronological order; those included in this volume will be marked with an asterisk and enumerated in this place without remark. The figures prefixed indicate the probable date. (1) 318: *Two books contra Gentes,' viz. c. Gent. and De Incarn. (2) 321-2: *Depositio Arii (on its authorship, see Introd.) (3) 328-373: *Festal Letters. (4) 328-335? *Ecthesis or Expositio Fidei. (5) Id.? *In Illud Omnia, etc. (6) 339: *Encyclica ad Episcopos ecclesiæ catholicæ. (7) 343: *Sardican Letters (46,
Athanasius—Select Works and Letters or Athanasius

Sermons of St. Bernard on the Passing of Malachy
Sermon I (November 2, 1148.)[1005] 1. A certain abundant blessing, dearly beloved, has been sent by the counsel of heaven to you this day; and if it were not faithfully divided, you would suffer loss, and I, to whom of a surety this office seems to have been committed, would incur danger. I fear therefore your loss, I fear my own damnation,[1006] if perchance it be said, The young children ask bread, and no man offereth it unto them.[1007] For I know how necessary for you is the consolation which
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

The Great Shepherd
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. I t is not easy for those, whose habits of life are insensibly formed by the customs of modern times, to conceive any adequate idea of the pastoral life, as obtained in the eastern countries, before that simplicity of manners, which characterized the early ages, was corrupted, by the artificial and false refinements of luxury. Wealth, in those
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word. ...
The Holy Spirit and the Incarnation of the Word. We have seen how Justin declared that it was not permissible to regard "the Spirit" and "the Power" that came upon the Virgin as any other than the Word of God Himself. And we also noted in passing that Theophilus of Antioch spoke of the Word as being "Spirit of God" and "Power of the Highest," the second of which designations comes from Luke i. 35. We have now to ask whether the language of Irenæus corresponds with this interpretation and makes
Irenæus—The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching

That the Ruler Relax not his Care for the Things that are Within in his Occupation among the Things that are Without, nor Neglect to Provide
The ruler should not relax his care for the things that are within in his occupation among the things that are without, nor neglect to provide for the things that are without in his solicitude for the things that are within; lest either, given up to the things that are without, he fall away from his inmost concerns, or, occupied only with the things that are within bestow not on his neighbours outside himself what he owes them. For it is often the case that some, as if forgetting that they have
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

What Messiah did the Jews Expect?
1. The most important point here is to keep in mind the organic unity of the Old Testament. Its predictions are not isolated, but features of one grand prophetic picture; its ritual and institutions parts of one great system; its history, not loosely connected events, but an organic development tending towards a definite end. Viewed in its innermost substance, the history of the Old Testament is not different from its typical institutions, nor yet these two from its predictions. The idea, underlying
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Upbringing of Jewish Children
The tenderness of the bond which united Jewish parents to their children appears even in the multiplicity and pictorialness of the expressions by which the various stages of child-life are designated in the Hebrew. Besides such general words as "ben" and "bath"--"son" and "daughter"--we find no fewer than nine different terms, each depicting a fresh stage of life. The first of these simply designates the babe as the newly--"born"--the "jeled," or, in the feminine, "jaldah"--as in Exodus 2:3, 6, 8.
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

The book familiarly known as the Lamentations consists of four elegies[1] (i., ii., iii., iv.) and a prayer (v.). The general theme of the elegies is the sorrow and desolation created by the destruction of Jerusalem[2] in 586 B.C.: the last poem (v.) is a prayer for deliverance from the long continued distress. The elegies are all alphabetic, and like most alphabetic poems (cf. Ps. cxix.) are marked by little continuity of thought. The first poem is a lament over Jerusalem, bereft, by the siege,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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