Lamentations 2 - Outline of Lamentations (MENU page)
The Lord's Actions against Jerusalem, due to His Righteous Anger, ch. 2
Jeremiah's first lamentation (ch. 1), described the desolation of the city... identified the cause of that desolation ("Jerusalem hath grievously sinned," 1:8, "the LORD is righteous," 1:18)... and expressed unspeakable sorrow under the weight and consequences of that sin:
"Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow,
wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger" (1:12).
It is the unimaginable thought, of that last line, upon which this second lamentation dwells. The LORD, Jehovah, the God who established and keeps His covenant with Israel, has caused her sorrow.
I. The Lord's Actions against Jerusalem (2:1-10)...
  1. were motivated by His anger, v.1.- The word 'anger' occurs twice in this verse.
    • He covered them with a cloud (ie., of access denied, Lam 3:44; and of gloom and doom, Joel 2:2)
    • He cast down... the beauty of Israel (ie., the Temple, Eze 7:20-22)
    • He remembered not His footstool (ie., the resting place for the Ark of the Covenant, 1Chr 28:2; Psa 132:1-10)
  2. against her habitations (the humble houses of shepherds and the strong fortresses of kings, alike), v.2a
  3. against her political power, v.2b-3
    • He has polluted {ie., made profane or common, removed the honor of} the kingdom and its princes.
    • He has cut off her 'all her horn' {ie., the totality of the nation's power}. cp. Psa 75:5,10; Psa 132:13-18
    • He has withdrawn His right hand (with which He would have defended them, cp. Psa 74:10,11).
  4. against her people, v.4,5 - cp. Isa 63:10; Jer 21:5
    • He assaults and prevails against all, regardless of whether they dwell in tents or palaces.
    • He swallowed up {HB= bala; engulfed completely} Israel and the place of her abode.
      The word "bala" occurs in v.2, v.5 (2x), v.8 ("destroying"). It conveys the picture of a fire consuming everything (v.3). cp. Jer 52:13
  5. against His Temple, v.6,7
    • He has violently taken away His Tabernacle (ie., the Temple).
      The word used for Tabernacle, here, is HB= sok, which may be related to the HB word "sukah" meaning "booth," or to the HB word "suwk" meaning "hedge."
      • If the meaning is "booth," the Lord has removed the place of meeting {assembly} which He had established in the midst of His people, as easily as a farmer removes a temporary shade shelter from a field, when the harvest is ended (cp. Isa 1:8).
      • If the meaning is "hedge," the Lord has turned the garden that He planted back to its natural state, by removing its hedge of protection (cp. Psa 80:12; 89:40; Isa 5:5).
    • He hath cast off His altar... He hath abhorred His sanctuary...- cp. Isa 1:13-15; Jer 7:12-14
      Their religious activity was not according to His will. The church should take heed (cp. Rev 2:4,5).
    • He hath given up into the hand of the enemy her walls of her palaces...-
      The Temple and its surrounding structures had been turned over to the heathen. They (the enemy) 'make a noise' in the LORD's House, as in the former days of Israel's feasts. But this is the sound, not of worship, but of demolition.
  6. against her wall (ie., the protective city wall), v.8,9a
    • He hath stretched out a line...- ie., a plumb line (a standard of 'right')
      That which was not upright must be torn down. cp. 2Kin 21:13; Isa 28:17; 34:11; Amos 7:7-9
    • He hath made the rampart... wall... gates... to lament {ie., mourn their failure}, languish {ie., grow weak} and sink into the ground.
      The physical barriers which kept the enemy outside the city have been broken down.
  7. against her rulers (leaders), v.9b,10
    • The kings, princes, prophets, elders...- The defenders of the Law, have failed. They receive no word from God.
      They and all their people are reduced to mourning for their hopeless condition.
Additional notes on this section:
II. The resulting sorrow of Jeremiah: The lament of an eyewitness, v.11-19
Jeremiah was broken hearted and broken in health, having been overwhelmed with sorrow. The "bowels" and "liver" were regarded as seats of the emotions and sympathies (cp. Jer 4:19). But strong emotions also have physical effects, such as tears, nausea and diarrhea (cp. Job 16:13-16).
The prophet weeps...
  1. for the children, v.11,12
  2. for his inability to comfort his people, v.13 - Their wound was beyond curing (cp. Jer 8:21,22; 30:12).
  3. for the error of false prophets, v.14 -
    • They had not discovered {ie., unveiled, revealed} the iniquity which led to their captivity.
    • Their false burdens, which contradicted God's Word (delivered by His true prophets), seduced the people and led them to destruction. (In v.14, the word "banishment" is lit., "seduction.") cp. Jer 6:14,15
  4. for the mockery of their enemies, v.15-17
    • Is this... The perfection of beauty... The joy of the whole earth... - cp. Psa 48:2; 50:2; Isa 64:11; Deu 29:22-28
    • We have swallowed her up {HB= bala}... - Israel's enemies take credit for what the Lord Himself has done (v.5).
    Verse 17 is a summary statement, reminding Jerusalem that the LORD, not their enemies, had caused her sorrows:
    • He hath done what He devised {purposed, planned}, including that which befell the children (cp. v.11-12,20-21; Lev 26:27-29; Deu 28:53-57).
    • He hath fulfilled His Word, in spite of the conflicting message of the popular prophets (cp. v.14)
    • He hath thrown down, and not pitied - Therefore, comfort was futile (cp. v.13).
    • He hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee... and established their horn {their power} (cp. v.15,16).
  5. for the despairing wail of the people toward the Lord, v.18-22
    1. Jeremiah observes some of the people praying (v.18).-
      (Read v.18 with the supplied word: "Their heart cried unto the Lord, saying...")
      • They were appealing to the Lord {Adonai} as their wall {protector, defender}, to remember His people, the apple of His eye (cp. Deu 32:10; Psa 17:8; Zech 2:8), and to prevent their extinction.
    2. Jeremiah encourages the people to pray (v.19).-
      • They should be motivated to fervent prayer by the plight of their children, they were to pour out their soul before the Lord (cp. Psa 62:8; 142:2; according to Jeremiah's example, v.11).
    3. Jeremiah supplies words for the substance of their prayer (v.20-22):
      1. Their Appeal to the LORD...
        • Consider to whom thou hast done this (ie., to the apple of thine eye), v.20a
        • Consider our desperate condition, v.20b-22
          • children are being cannibalized.
          • dead bodies lie discarded as refuse, indiscriminate of age, gender, or position.
            The sword of the enemy consumed our priests, prophets, soldiers and such children as survived the siege.
      2. Their Acknowledgment that their bereavement is due to LORD's righteous anger (v.21,22).
    What sorrows must the Lord bring upon His people before we seek Him as we ought? cp. 2Chr 7:14; Isa 55:6-13; Jer 29:12-14
    How much better to seek Him early? Psa 63:1; 1Tim 2:8

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