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FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations

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FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations 2: Judgement of the Lord


[Preliminary 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.

In 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'.

In 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 [v.17].

In Part 3, Jeremiah turns to the need for prayer [v.18,19] and actual prayer [v.20-22].



PART 1: v.1-8: The Judgment of THE LORD


v.1 God in His anger had brought down Israel's glory


v.1 How 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. 


v.2 In His wrath He has levelled the towns and strongholds, their reign brought low


v.2 Without 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. 


v.3 He removed every strong leader before the enemy and consumed the land


v.3 In 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 He has withdrawn his right hand at the approach of the enemy.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. 


v.4 Like the enemy He fought against this people and this land


v.4 Like 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. 


v.5 Yes, as an enemy He has swallowed us up, leaving only mourning


v.5 The 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. 


v.6 He even removed His own temple in His anger


v.6 He 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 and priest. 


v.7 He rejected all the sacrificial rituals, brought down His temple and the palaces


v.7 The 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. 


v.8 He even destroyed the very walls of Jerusalem


v.8 The LORD determined 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. 



PART 2: v.9-17 The Effects of this Judgment & People Involved


v.9 Her gates where rulers sat are gone and all leaders taken


v.9 Her 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 the LORD. 


v.10 Elders & young women alike mourn and anguish


v.10 The 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. 


v.11 I weep, I am in torment because of the state of my people


v.11 My 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. 


v.12 Even the children fade away from starvation


v.12 They 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. 


v.13 The pain of Jerusalem seems too deep to be comforted


v.13 What 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? 


v.14 The prophets did us no favours with their false hopes, false prophecies


v.14 The 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. 


v.15 Passers-by laugh and mock at what they now see of us


v.15  All 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?” 


v.16 Our enemies rejoice at what they have done to us


v.16 All 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.” 


v.17 God has done what He warned many times He would do, bringing us down


v.17 The 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 foes. 



PART 3: v.18-22: Cries to the Lord


v.18 People's inner ongoing cries are to the Lord


v.18  The 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. 


v.19 So continue to call out to Him on behalf of your children


v.19  Arise, 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. 


v.20 An Appeal to the Lord: who else has suffered so terribly at your hands like this


v.20  “Look, 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? 


v.21 The streets are littered with bodies because of your anger


v.21  “Young 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. 


v.22 When the Lord called for this to be – it happened! No survivors!


v.22  “As 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.”



[Additional 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.

As 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].

The 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.]



Continue to Ch.3