Lamentations 4:20
The LORD's anointed, the breath of our life, was captured in their pits. We had said of him, "Under his shadow we will live among the nations."
A Disappointed Confidence and a Desecrated SanctityD. Young Lamentations 4:20
Confidence in Vain HelpJ. Udall.Lamentations 4:20
Taken in the PitsF. B. Meyer, B. A.Lamentations 4:20
The Failure of Human TrustHomilistLamentations 4:20

There seems to be indicated in these words a great attachment to the kingly office and a great confidence in it. It is the same spirit continuing and probably intensified which caused the people ages before to demand a king. And is it not thus suggested to us what a deep feeling there is in the human heart to have some one individual to look up to as having rule over us? "The right Divine of kings" is a principle which more than once in history has been seen pushing itself to disastrous issues, but that is no reason for asserting that "the right Divine of kings" is an absurdity. It is only an absurdity when a weak fallible mortal holds himself, by virtue of his ancestry and kinship, to have little less than absolute control over multitudes of his fellow men. The question is not whether kingship is right, but who shall be the king. And especially does this need to be recollected among the changing forms of government so perceptible in modern times. Now that despotisms are tending to limited monarchies, and limited monarchies becoming more limited, and extensions being made of republican territory, it is more than ever important to insist on the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven. Not without deep reason does the proper government for man stand before us in the New Testament as a kingdom. The collective wisdom of mankind can only be at best a puzzling mixture of knowledge and ignorance, prudence and rashness. Blessed is he who feels that the real Anointed of the Lord is the proper Being to guide. Under his shadow we can live the true life in that safety of the spirit which is of far more moment than that mere external safety from the Gentiles, which counted for so much in the esteem of the Israelite of old. In no pits has the Lord Jesus Christ ever been taken. - Y.

The breath of our nostril, the anointed of the Lord, was taken in their pits.
I. THE NATION'S RELATIONS WITH THEIR KING. They trusted their fate, their safety, their hopes,, into the hands of their king.

1. Observe how they regarded him. They called him "The breath of their nostrils" — that is, they considered him as dear and as necessary as the air they breathed. We are prone to make too much of human agents and earthly creatures, especially of the rich, noble, and great.

2. Observe how he disappointed them. They gave him honour, trust. They expected security and happiness. But when the city was besieged, he and all the men of war escaped through the king's garden. His cowardice, however, availed him nothing, for the Chaldeans overtook him and carried him to Babylon. Thus were the people's hopes and expectations painfully deceived, and the popular idol, instead of defending them, proved a cowardly and a miserable traitor, who suffered for his wretched conduct by being blinded, bound in chains, and kept in prison till the day of his death.


1. The folly of making popular idols. Whether regally, politically, or socially, they only bring disappointment, and for their own purposes will deceive and betray those who have reposed their trust in them.

2. The folly of seeking human help. God will take away or destroy that which He sees is likely to take our thoughts away from Him. Whatever we make the means of our forsaking or forgetting Him, He will make the instrument of chastising us.


1. The office of the king, and so of every magistrate, is to protect and preserve the people in safety and peace, even as the breath that we draw in at our nostrils giveth life and health unto the body.(1) God hath given them power for the good, and not the harm, of the subjects.(2) They are God's lieutenants, who is the preservation and safety of all His creatures.(3) Else are the people subject to fall into all evils (Judges 17:6; Proverbs 19:12).

2. Kings and princes, when they sin against the Lord, axe subject to His punishing hand as well as meaner people.(1) God is no accepter of persons.(2) They have no more privilege promised them than others (1 Samuel 12:25).

3. It is the nature of man to promise himself all assurance, when the outward means seem strong for him.(1) Carnal reason doth regard nothing but the outward means.(2) Satan laboureth to make us secure thereupon, and not to look any further.

4. When God's people set their hearts too much on outward things He useth utterly to take them away from them.(1) Else they will forget to rely upon Him as they should.(2) He loveth them, and will force them from all affiance except Himself.

(J. Udall.)

The people tell the sad tale of the pursuit of their foes. Swifter than the eagles, they chased them on the mountains, and laid wait for them in the wilderness. Then they narrate how their king fell into the hands of them who sought his life. He was dear to them as the breath of their nostrils; his person was sacred as the anointed of the Lord; they had thought that even though they were carried into captivity they would find some alleviation to their hardships in dwelling under his protection; they said, "Under his shadow we shall live among the nations." But even he was taken in their pits. What a likeness and a contrast to our blessed Lord!

I. There is LIKENESS. He is as the breath of our life. As we inhale the air around us, so we expand our souls to drink in of His most blessed nature. We open our mouths, and inhale Him as our vital element; His Spirit for our spirit; His blood for our souls; His resurrection strength for our bodies. He is the anointed of the Father, who anoints us. Because He is the Christ (anointed), we are Christians (anointed ones). His shadow is a most grateful and wide spreading one, beneath which we may dwell in safety.

II. But how great the CONTRAST! Though He was once taken in the pit of Satanic malice and the shadow of death, yet now He liveth to be the shield and protector of His people wherever they are scattered among the nations. He that sitteth on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger and thirst no more, neither shall the sun strike them. However far our bodies are from one another, we all dwell beneath the shadow of the Lord, which is as a great rock in a weary land.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Jeremiah, Nazarites
Edom, Jerusalem, Sodom, Uz, Zion
Anointed, Breath, Captured, Caught, Heathen, Holes, Holy, Lord's, Nations, Nostrils, Oil, Pits, Shade, Shadow, Traps
1. Zion bewails her pitiful estate
13. She confesses her sins
21. Edom is threatened and Zion comforted.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Lamentations 4:20

     4846   shadow
     5589   trap

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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