Lamentations 2

The Lord is Angry

1 How, {in his anger},[a] the Lord has covered the daughter of Zion in a cloud! He has thrown down from heavens [to] earth the splendor of Israel, and he has not remembered his footstool in the day of {his anger}.[b]
2 The Lord has devoured; he has not shown mercy to all the dwellings of Jacob; he has broken down in his wrath the fortifications of the daughter of Judah; he has leveled to the ground, he has dishonored the kingdom and its commanders.[c]
3 He has cut down {in fierce anger}[d] all the might of Israel; he has withdrawn his right hand from the faces of [the] enemy, and he has burned in Jacob like a flaming fire, it has consumed all around.
4 He has bent his bow like an enemy; he has set his right hand like a foe, and he has slain all [the] treasures of [the] eye; in the tent of the daughter of Zion, he has poured out his anger like fire.
5 The Lord has become like an enemy; he has destroyed Israel; he has destroyed all its citadel fortresses; he has ruined all its fortifications and multiplied lamentation and mourning in the daughter of Judah.
6 He has broken down {his dwelling} place like the garden; he has ruined his appointed feasts; Yahweh has made [them] forget in Zion {festival} and Sabbath, and he has despised in his anger king and priest.
7 The Lord has rejected his altar; he has rejected his sanctuary; he has delivered into the hands of the enemy the walls of its citadel fortresses. They have cried out in the house of Yahweh like a day of an appointed feast.
8 Yahweh has planned to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion. He measured [with] a line; he has not restrained his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to mourn; together they have languished away.
9 Her gates have sunk into the earth; he has ruined and broken her bars, her kings and its princes [are] among the nations; there is no more law. Also, her prophets have not found a revelation from Yahweh.
10 They sit on the ground, the elders of the daughter of Zion are silent. They cast dust on their head, they have put on sackcloth; the young women of Jerusalem have bowed their head down to the ground.
11 My eyes have {spent all their tears}; {my stomach} is in torment, {my heart} is poured out on the earth because of the destruction of the daughter of my people, because child and babe faint in [the] public squares of a city.
12 To their mothers they say, "Where is the bread and wine?" as they faint like the wounded in [the] public squares of a city, as their life is being poured out onto the bosom of their mothers.
13 What can I say for you? What can I compare to you, O daughter of Jerusalem? To what can I liken you so that I can comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? For your destruction [is] as vast as the sea; who can heal you?
14 Your prophets had a vision for you, false and worthless; they have not exposed your sin, to restore your fortune; they have seen oracles for you, false and misleading.
15 They clap hands over you, all who pass along the way; they hiss and they shake their head, at the daughter of Jerusalem. Is this the city of which it is said, "A perfection of beauty, a joy for all the earth?"
16 They have opened their mouths against you, all your enemies. They hiss and gnash a tooth, and they say, "We have destroyed [her]! Surely this [is] the day we have hoped for; we have found [it], we have seen [it]!"
17 Yahweh has done what he has planned; he has fulfilled his promise that he ordained from the days of old; he has demolished and not shown mercy; he has made an enemy rejoice over you, he has exalted the {might} of your foes.
18 Their heart cried to the Lord, "O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears stream down like a river; day and night, do not give yourself relief, do not give your eyes rest.
19 "Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches; pour out your heart like water, before the face of the Lord. Lift to him your hands, for the life of your children, who faint in starvation, at the head of all streets."
20 See, Yahweh, and take note! With whom have you dealt thus? Should women eat their young children of tender care? Should priest and prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
21 They lie in [the] soil of [the] streets, young and old; my young women and young men, they have fallen by the sword; you have slain on the day of {your anger}, you have slaughtered and not shown mercy.
22 You have summoned my horror from all around, as if for a feast day; no one on the day of Yahweh's anger [is] a fugitive and a survivor; whoever I have cared for and reared, my enemy has destroyed.

Lamentations 2 Commentary

Chapter 2

Lamentation for the misery of Jerusalem.

Verses 1-9 A sad representation is here made of the state of God's church, of Jacob and Israel; but the notice seems mostly to refer to the hand of the Lord in their calamities. Yet God is not an enemy to his people, when he is angry with them and corrects them. And gates and bars stand in no stead when God withdraws his protection. It is just with God to cast down those by judgments, who debase themselves by sin; and to deprive those of the benefit and comfort of sabbaths and ordinances, who have not duly valued nor observed them. What should they do with Bibles, who make no improvement of them? Those who misuse God's prophets, justly lose them. It becomes necessary, though painful, to turn the thoughts of the afflicted to the hand of God lifted up against them, and to their sins as the source of their miseries.

Verses 10-22 Causes for lamentation are described. Multitudes perished by famine. Even little children were slain by their mother's hands, and eaten, according to the threatening, ( Deuteronomy 28:53 ) . Multitudes fell by the sword. Their false prophets deceived them. And their neighbours laughed at them. It is a great sin to jest at others' miseries, and adds much affliction to the afflicted. Their enemies triumphed over them. The enemies of the church are apt to take its shocks for its ruins; but they will find themselves deceived. Calls to lamentation are given; and comforts for the cure of these lamentations are sought. Prayer is a salve for every sore, even the sorest; a remedy for every malady, even the most grievous. Our business in prayer is to refer our case to the Lord, and leave it with him. His will be done. Let us fear God, and walk humbly before him, and take heed lest we fall.

Footnotes 16

  • [a]. Literally "in his nose"
  • [b]. Literally "his nose"
  • [c]. Or "her commanders"
  • [d]. Literally "in a fierce nose"
  • [e]. NRSV translates "all in whom we took pride"
  • [f]. Or "her citadel fortresses"
  • [g]. Literally "his booth"; or "his tabernacle"
  • [h]. Literally "appointed time"
  • [i]. Or "her citadel fortress"
  • [j]. Hebrew torah
  • [k]. Literally "finished with the weeping"
  • [l]. Literally "my inward parts"
  • [m]. Literally "my liver"
  • [n]. Literally "horn"
  • [o]. Or "my virgins"
  • [p]. Literally "your nose"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS 2

This chapter contains another alphabet, in which the Prophet Jeremiah, or those he represents, lament the sad condition of Jerusalem; the destruction of the city and temple, and of all persons and things relative to them, and to its civil or church state; and that as being from the hand of the Lord himself, who is represented all along as the author thereof, because of their sins, La 2:1-9; and then the elders and virgins of Zion are represented as in great distress, and weeping for those desolations; which were very much owing to the false prophets, that had deceived them, La 2:10-14; and all this occasioned great rejoicing in the enemies of Zion, La 2:15-17; but sorrow of heart to Zion herself, who is called to weeping, La 2:18,19; and the chapter is concluded with an address to the Lord, to take this her sorrowful case into consideration, and show pity and compassion, La 2:20-22.

Lamentations 2 Commentaries