Lamentations 2: Judgement of the Lord
Comments: Away from the big sweeps of chapter 1, chapter
2 focuses much more on the fact that the invasion of Israel and
the destruction of Jerusalem was an act of God's judgment. We
see it in three Parts.
Part 1 God is clearly the cause of this [v.1-8].
18 times in this translation see the word ‘he' as well as 5 times
identified as ‘the Lord'.
Part 2, we see the broken down city & removal
of government [v.9], from the greatest to the least, mourning
[v.10], and Jeremiah's heart is broken because of the state of
the people [v.11,12] and there seems no one who can help [v.13,14].
Their plight is obvious so passers-by mock them [v.15] and their
enemies laugh at them [v.16] for it is all the judgment of God
Part 3, Jeremiah turns to the need for prayer
[v.18,19] and actual prayer [v.20-22].
1: v.1-8: The Judgment of THE LORD
God in His anger had brought down Israel's glory
the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the
cloud of his anger! He has hurled down the splendor
of Israel from heaven to earth; he has not remembered
his footstool in the day of his anger.
In His wrath He has levelled the towns and strongholds, their
reign brought low
pity the Lord has swallowed up all the dwellings
of Jacob; in his wrath he has torn down the
strongholds of Daughter Judah. He has brought
her kingdom and its princes down to the ground in dishonor.
He removed every strong leader before the enemy and consumed the
fierce anger he has cut off every horn of Israel.
He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach
of the enemy. He has burned in Jacob like a
flaming fire that consumes everything around it.
Like the enemy He fought against this people and this land
an enemy he has strung his bow; his right hand
is ready. Like a foe he has slain all who were
pleasing to the eye; he has poured out his wrath
like fire on the tent of Daughter Zion.
Yes, as an enemy He has swallowed us up, leaving only mourning
Lord is like an enemy; he has swallowed up Israel.
He has swallowed up all her palaces and destroyed
her strongholds. He has multiplied mourning
and lamentation for Daughter Judah.
He even removed His own temple in His anger
has laid waste his dwelling like a garden; he
has destroyed his place of meeting. The LORD has
made Zion forget her appointed festivals and her Sabbaths;
in his fierce anger he has spurned both king
He rejected all the sacrificial rituals, brought down His temple
and the palaces
Lord has rejected his altar and abandoned his sanctuary.
He has given the walls of her palaces into the
hands of the enemy; they have raised a shout in the house of the
LORD as on the day of an appointed festival.
He even destroyed the very walls of Jerusalem
to tear down the wall around Daughter Zion. He
stretched out a measuring line and did not withhold his hand from
destroying. He made ramparts and walls lament;
together they wasted away.
2: v.9-17 The Effects of this Judgment & People Involved
Her gates where rulers sat are gone and all leaders taken
gates have sunk into the ground; their bars he has broken and
destroyed. Her king and her princes are exiled among the nations,
the law is no more, and her prophets no longer find visions from
Elders & young women alike mourn and anguish
elders of Daughter Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have
sprinkled dust on their heads and put on sackcloth. The young
women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.
I weep, I am in torment because of the state of my people
eyes fail from weeping, I am in torment within; my heart is poured
out on the ground because my people are destroyed, because children
and infants faint in the streets of the city.
Even the children fade away from starvation
say to their mothers, “Where is bread and wine?” as they faint
like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their lives ebb
away in their mothers' arms.
The pain of Jerusalem seems too deep to be comforted
can I say for you? With what can I compare you, Daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you, Virgin Daughter
Zion? Your wound is as deep as the sea. Who can heal you?
The prophets did us no favours with their false hopes, false prophecies
visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not
expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The prophecies they
gave you were false and misleading.
Passers-by laugh and mock at what they now see of us
who pass your way clap their hands at you; they scoff and shake
their heads at Daughter Jerusalem: “Is this the city that was
called the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?”
Our enemies rejoice at what they have done to us
your enemies open their mouths wide against you; they scoff and
gnash their teeth and say, “We have swallowed her up. This is
the day we have waited for; we have lived to see it.”
God has done what He warned many times He would do, bringing us
LORD has done what he planned; he has fulfilled his word, which
he decreed long ago. He has overthrown you without pity, he has
let the enemy gloat over you, he has exalted the horn of your
3: v.18-22: Cries to the Lord
People's inner ongoing cries are to the Lord
hearts of the people cry out to the Lord. You
walls of Daughter Zion, let your tears flow like a river day and
night; give yourself no relief, your eyes no rest.
So continue to call out to Him on behalf of your children
cry out in the night, as the watches of the
night begin; pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord. Lift up your hands
to him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at
every street corner.
An Appeal to the Lord: who else has suffered so terribly at your
hands like this
LORD, and consider: Whom have you ever treated like this? Should
women eat their offspring, the children they have cared for? Should
priest and prophet be killed in the sanctuary of the Lord?
The streets are littered with bodies because of your anger
and old lie together in the dust of the streets; my young men
and young women have fallen by the sword. You have slain them
in the day of your anger; you have slaughtered them without pity.
When the Lord called for this to be – it happened! No survivors!
you summon to a feast day, so you summoned against me terrors
on every side. In the day of the LORD's anger no one escaped or
survived; those I cared for and reared my enemy has destroyed.”
Comments: Looking to the bigger picture, Jeremiah had
been a prophet who, for decades, had brought the call of the Lord
for the people to return to Him. The historical record shows that
he was saved and remained in the ruins of the devastated city
before being taken off into Egypt by the rebellious remaining
remnant. But here there is no ranting rage against the folly of
Israel, but more an anguish that has fully entered into the awfulness
of what has taken place.
God's prophet who had warned of this, he knows that this is the
work of God [v.1-8]. He gazes on the ruins, sees the city gates
where the leaders used to meet, now torn down, and elders and
prophets alike are gone [v.9,10] and all who are left are those
who struggle to stave off starvation [v.11,12] and there is no
one left to comfort them [v.13] for the prophets who got it wrong
are now gone [v.14]. So, as people pass by the ruined city, they
just laugh at this once proud city [v.15] and their enemies also,
rejoice over their triumph [v.16] and Jeremiah knows this is all
because of the Lord [v.17].
anguish caused makes the people cry out to the Lord [v.18] so
he calls on all to pray [v.19]. He himself addresses the Lord
and asks Him to reflect back on any past judgments [v.20] and
look on this devastated people [v.21], recognising this is His
judgment [v.22]. In all these ways Jeremiah enters fully into
the anguish of all that has occurred.]