Lamentations 1:16

For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.

For these things I weep,.... The congregation of Judah, the godly among them, particularly Jeremiah, who represented them, wept for the sins the people had been guilty of, and for the punishment inflicted on them, or the sore calamities that were brought upon them. The Targum goes into particulars, and paraphrases it thus,

"for the little ones that are dashed in pieces, and for the women big with child, whose bellies are ripped up, the congregation of Israel saith, I weep:''

mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water: which doubling of the words seems to express the vehemency of her passion; the greatness of the grief she was overwhelmed with. The Targum is,

"my both eyes flow with tears as a fountain of water:''

because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me; meaning God himself, who is the principal comforter of his people: saints may be comforters of one another, by relating to each other their gracious experiences; praying with one another, and building up each other in their most holy faith; by behaving in a kind, tender, and loving manner to each other; forgiving mutual offences; and conversing together about the glories of heaven, and being for ever with the Lord; but these sometimes are at a distance; or, like Job's friends, are miserable comforters. Ministers of the Gospel are by their character and office "Barnabases", "sons of consolation"; are trained up, appointed, and sent by the Lord to comfort his people; which they do by preaching the Gospel to them purely; by opening the Scriptures of truth clearly; by administering ordinances faithfully, and in all directing to Christ: but these sometimes are removed afar off by persecution or death; or those who bear this name do not perform their work aright. God is the chief comforter of his people; God, Father, Son, and Spirit: the Father comforts with his gracious presence; with views of covenant interest, and of the firmness and stability of it; with the precious promises of the word; with his everlasting and unchangeable love; and with discoveries of his pardoning grace and mercy. The Son is a comforter; one of the names of the Messiah with the Jews {c} is "Menachem", "the Comforter"; and who they say is here meant; and he is called the Consolation of Israel, Luke 2:25; who comforts by bringing near his righteousness and salvation; by his peace speaking blood, and atoning sacrifice; by directing to his fulness, and favouring with his presence. And the Holy Spirit is another comforter; who comforts by taking of the things of God, Christ, and the Gospel, and showing them to the saints; by opening and applying the promises to his people; by being the spirit of adoption, and the seal, earnest, and pledge of eternal glory: and thus, by being a comforter, the Lord "relieves the souls" of his people, under the weight of sin, the temptations of Satan, and the various afflictions of life; and prevents their fainting, and returns their souls, as the word {d} signifies; or fetches them back, when fainting and swooning away: but sometimes he withdraws himself, and stands at a distance, at least in their apprehensions; and this is matter of great grief and sorrow to them; which was the case of the church at this time:

my children are desolate: those which should help and relieve her, and be a comfort to her, were destitute themselves: or, were "destroyed" {e}, and were not; and which was the cause of her disconsolate state, as was Rachel's, Jeremiah 31:15;

because the enemy prevailed; that is, over them, as the Targum adds; over her children; and either put them to death or carried them captive.

{c} T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. 2. Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 1.
{d} yvpn byvm "reducens animam meam", V. L. Montanus; "qui restituat", Tigurine version.
{e} Mymmwv "perditi", V. L.