Lamentations 2 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Lamentations 2)

Verse 1

[1] How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!

His footstool — His temple; but suffered the Chaldeans to destroy it.

Cast down — That is, thrown them down from the highest glory and honour, to the meanest degree of servitude.

Verse 2

[2] The Lord hath swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and hath not pitied: he hath thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; he hath brought them down to the ground: he hath polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof.

Polluted — Dealt with them as with a polluted thing; cast them off, brake them in pieces.

Verse 3

[3] He hath cut off in his fierce anger all the horn of Israel: he hath drawn back his right hand from before the enemy, and he burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devoureth round about.

The horn — All their beauty and strength.

Drawn back — God hath drawn back his assistance which he was wont to give the Jews against their enemies.

Round about — God consumed them, not in this or that part, but round about, as a fire seizing an house at once on all sides.

Verse 4

[4] He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.

He — That is, God, (whom by their sins they had provoked and made their enemy) behaved himself as an enemy.

And slew — All their young men, and maidens who were pleasant to look upon.

Verse 6

[6] And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.

His tabernacle — His temple.

The places — The synagogues.

The king — By the king and the priests are meant persons of greatest rank and eminency, though it is thought here is a special reference to Zedekiah the king of Judah, and Seraiah who was the high priest; the former of which was miserably handled, the latter slain.

Verse 7

[7] The Lord hath cast off his altar, he hath abhorred his sanctuary, he hath given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of a solemn feast.

They — The enemies with their triumphs and blasphemies, made as great a noise, as those that sang holy songs, or played on instruments, were wont to make to the glory of God.

Verse 8

[8] The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.

The wall — The strength and security of the Jews.

A line — Artificers used with lines not only to mark out places for building, but also for destruction, to direct them what to cut off; and such a line is here meant.

Verse 9

[9] Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.

Among the Gentiles — In miserable captivity.

The law — Is no more read, opened or observed.

Her prophets — They had but very few prophets, from this time to the time of the gospel, and very few of those at this time alive had any revelation from God.

Verse 10

[10] The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth: the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.

The virgins — The whole city is in a mournful posture.

Verse 11

[11] Mine eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are troubled, my liver is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my people; because the children and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.

Mine eyes — This whole verse is but expressive of the prophets great affliction for the miseries come upon the Jews. He wept himself almost blind.

Bowels — His passion had disturbed his bodily humours, that his bowels were troubled.

Liver — His gall lying under his liver. All these are expressions of great affliction and sorrow.

Swoon — During the famine, occasioned by the long siege.

Verse 12

[12] They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom.

Bosom — When they died in their mother's arms.

Verse 13

[13] What thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like the sea: who can heal thee?

Who — There was no people whose condition was in any degree parallel to the misery of the Jews: nor was there any cure for them, their breach was like a sea breach where the waters come in with such a torrent, that there is no making any defence against them.

Verse 14

[14] Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: and they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; but have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment.

The prophets — False prophets told you vain stories.

Not discovered — Whereas they ought to have made you sensible of your sins, and this might have prevented your captivity.

False burdens — False stories to encourage you in sin, and so cause your banishment.

Verse 18

[18] Their heart cried unto the Lord, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.

O wall — That is, those that are upon it.

Verse 20

[20] Behold, O LORD, and consider to whom thou hast done this. Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?

Whom — Not the Heathen, but to thy own people.

Women — Wilt thou suffer women to satisfy their hunger with the fruit of their own bodies?

Verse 22

[22] Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD's anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed.

My terrors — As my people were wont to be called together from all parts in a solemn day, so now my terrible enemies, or terrible things are by thee called together.