Lamentations 4:15 MEANING

Lamentations 4:15
(15) They cried unto them--i.e., these, as they passed, cried to the blood-stained priests. The cry "unclean" was that uttered by the leper as a warning to those he met (Leviticus 13:45). Here it comes from those whom they meet, and who start back in their fear of defilement.

When they fled away.--The words seem to refer to some lost facts, like those suggested by Lamentations 4:14 : the murderers fleeing from their own countrymen, and finding themselves equally abhorred among the heathen.

Verse 15. - They cried unto them, etc. As they leave the city they are pursued by the maledictions of those whom they have oppressed. It is unclean. The cry with which the leper was directed to warn off passengers, lest they should become infected (Leviticus 13:45). There may be an allusion to this, but, though commonly accepted, the view is not certain, as the" leper" in the present case is not the person who raises the cry, but those who meet him. When they fled away and wandered. The clause is difficult. If the text is correct, Keil's explanation may perhaps pass, "When they fled away, (there) also they wandered," alluding to the "wandering" ascribed to them with a somewhat different shade of meaning in the preceding verso. In any case there ought to be a fuller stop than a comma after "touch not," which words close the first of the two parallel lines of which the verse consists. But very probably "when" (Hebrew, ki) is an intrusion, and we should begin the second line thus: "They fled, they also wandered about." They said among the heathen, etc. Even in their place of exile they found no rest (comp. Deuteronomy 28:65). This is better than understanding "the heathen" (literally, the nations) to mean "the Chaldean army," and the place of sojourn prohibited to be Jerusalem.

4:13-20 Nothing ripens a people more for ruin, nor fills the measure faster, than the sins of priests and prophets. The king himself cannot escape, for Divine vengeance pursues him. Our anointed King alone is the life of our souls; we may safely live under his shadow, and rejoice in Him in the midst of our enemies, for He is the true God and eternal life.They cried unto them, depart ye, it is unclean,.... Or, O ye "unclean" (e); that is, the people said so to the priests, being polluted with blood; they abhorred them, did not care they should come nigh them, but bid them keep at distance; they that cleansed others of leprosy were treated as leprous persons themselves, and proclaimed unclean, and shunned as such: and, to show their vehement abhorrence of them, repeated the words,

depart, depart, touch not: that is, touch us not; they who had used to say; to others, stand by yourselves, we are more holy than you, being the Lord's priests and prophets, are treated after the same manner themselves:

when they fled away, and wandered; fled from the city, and wandered among the nations; or when they were swiftly carried away captives, and became vagabonds in other countries:

they said among the Heathens, they shall no more sojourn there; being among the Heathens, they took notice of them as very wicked men, and said concerning them, now they are carried out of their own land, they shall never return there any more, and dwell in Jerusalem, and officiate in the temple, as they had formerly done.

(e) "immunde", Montanus; "immundi", Strigelius. "gens polluta", Vatablus; "discedite polluti", Gataker.

Courtesy of Open Bible