Lamentations 2:1
How has the LORD covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
II.

(1) How hath the Lord . . .—The second dirge follows the pattern of the first, opening with a description of the sufferings of Jerusalem, (Lamentations 2:1-10), and closing with a dramatic soliloquy spoken as by the daughter of Zion (Lamentations 2:11-22).

The image that floats before the poet’s mind is that of a dark thunder-cloud breaking into a tempest, which overthrows the “beauty of Israel,” sc. the Temple (Isaiah 64:11), or, as in 2Samuel 1:19, the heroes who defended it. The footstool is, as in 1Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5, the ark of the covenant, which was involved in the destruction of the Temple. The Lord” is, as before, Adonai, not Jehovah.

Lamentations 2:1. How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud — Changed her condition for the worse, and turned the light of her prosperity into the darkness of adversity. And cast down, &c., the beauty of Israel — The temple and all its glory. And remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger — Hath not spared even the ark itself, the footstool of the shekinah, or divine glory, which was wont to appear, sitting, as it were, enthroned upon the mercy-seat, between the cherubim: see the margin.2:1-9 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.How ... - Or, "How" doth "אדני 'ădonāy cover." He hath east down etc. By God's footstool seems to be meant the ark. See Psalm 99:5 note. CHAPTER (ELEGY) 2

La 2:1-22.

Aleph.

1. How—The title of the collection repeated here, and in La 4:1.

covered … with a cloud—that is, with the darkness of ignominy.

cast down from heaven unto … earth—(Mt 11:23); dashed down from the highest prosperity to the lowest misery.

beauty of Israel—the beautiful temple (Ps 29:2; 74:7; 96:9, Margin; Isa 60:7; 64:11).

his footstool—the ark (compare 1Ch 28:2, with Ps 99:5; 132:7). They once had gloried more in the ark than in the God whose symbol it was; they now feel it was but His "footstool," yet that it had been a great glory to them that God deigned to use it as such.

Beth.Jeremiah lamenteth the misery of Jerusalem, and its causes, and their enemies’ derision, Lamentations 2:1-17. In exhortation to true sorrow and repentance; a fervent prayer, Lamentations 2:18-22.

How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger? It hath been formerly observed that great states and kingdoms are often in Scripture expressed under the notion of daughters, Psalm 137:8 Isaiah 10:30 47:1,5 Jer 46:11 Lamentations 4:21,22: the meaning is, How hath God obscured all the beauty and glory of the church and state of the Jews!

And cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel; that is, thrown them down from the highest pitch of glory and honour, to the meanest degree of baseness and servitude.

And remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger: the earth is called the Lord’s footstool, Isaiah 66:1 Matthew 5:35 Acts 7:49, but here plainly the temple is understood, called God’s footstool, 1 Chronicles 28:2; and the whole temple seems rather to be understood than the ark, for we read of no indignity offered to the ark by the Chaldeans, more than to any other part of the temple; God had suffered the Chaldeans to burn the whole temple, and it may justly be doubted whether those other texts that mention a worshipping at God’s footstool, Psalm 99:5 132:7, be not to be understood of worshipping in the temple, for it was not the privilege of all the Jews to come so near the ark as to worship before that. The reason of the complaint is God’s permission of the Chaldeans to burn the temple. See Jeremiah 52:13.

How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger,.... Not their persons for protection, as he did the Israelites at the Red sea, and in the wilderness; nor their sins, which he blots out as a thick cloud; or with such an one as he filled the tabernacle and temple with when dedicated; for this was "in his anger", in the day of his anger, against Jerusalem; but with the thick and black clouds of calamity and distress; he "beclouded" (r) her, as it may be rendered, and is by Broughton; he drew a veil, or caused a cloud to come over all her brightness and glory, and surrounded her with darkness, that her light and splendour might not be seen. Aben Ezra interprets it, "he lifted her up to the clouds": that is, in order to cast her down with the greater force, as follows:

and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel; all its glory, both in church and state; this was brought down from the highest pitch of its excellency and dignity, to the lowest degree of infamy and reproach; particularly this was true of the temple, and service of God in it, which was the beauty and glory of the nation, but now utterly demolished:

and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger; to spare and preserve that; meaning either the house of the sanctuary, the temple itself, as the Targum and Jarchi; or rather the ark with the mercy seat, on which the Shechinah or divine Majesty set his feet, when sitting between the cherubim; and is so called, 1 Chronicles 28:2.

(r) "obnubilavit", Montanus, Vatablus; "obnubilat", Cocceius.

How hath the Lord {a} covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from {b} heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his {c} footstool in the day of his anger!

(a) That is, brought her from prosperity to adversity.

(b) Has given her a most sore fall.

(c) Alluding to the temple, or to the ark of the covenant, which was called the footstool of the Lord, because they would not set their minds so low, but lift up their heart toward the heavens.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. How] See on ch. Lamentations 1:1.

the beauty of Israel] possibly the Temple, as in Isaiah 64:2, or Jerusalem, but more naturally the illustrious ones of the nation (cp. “thy glory” in 2 Samuel 1:19), or even Israel as a whole, once high in the favour of Jehovah.

his footstool] here again the Temple (cp. Ezekiel 43:7 and perhaps Psalm 99:5) may be meant, or the Ark, which is actually called God’s “footstool” in 1 Chronicles 28:2 and probably in Psalm 132:7.Verse 1. - Hath the Lord covered; rather, doth... cover. The daughter of Zion; i.e. Jerusalem. Cast down from heaven. Here and in Matthew 11:28 we have a parallel to Isaiah 14:12, where the King of Babylon is compared to a bright star. "Cast down" whither? Into the "pit" or dungeon of Hades (Isaiah 14:15). The beauty of Israel; i.e. Jerusalem, exactly as Babylon is called "the proud beauty [or, 'ornament'] of Chaldea" (Isaiah 13:19). His footstool; i.e. the ark (Psalm 132:7), or perhaps the temple as containing the ark (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5). The complaint regarding the want of comforters is corroborated by the writer, who further developes this thought, and gives some proof of it. By this contemplative digression he breaks in on the lamentation of the city, as if the voice of the weeping one were choked with tears, thus he introduces into the complaint a suitable pause, that both serves to divide the lamentation into two, and also brings a turn in its contents. It is in vain that Zion stretches out her hands (פּרשׁ בּ, to make a spreading out with the hands) for comforters and helpers; there is none she can embrace, for Jahveh has given orders against Jacob, that those round about him should act as oppressors. סביביו are the neighbouring nations round about Israel. These are all of hostile disposition, and strive but to increase his misery; cf. Lamentations 1:2. Jerusalem has become their abomination (cf. Lamentations 1:8), since God, in punishment for sins, has exposed her before the heathen nations (cf. Lamentations 1:8). בּיניהם, "between them," the neighbouring nations, who live round about Judah. The thought that Jahveh has decreed the suffering which has come on Jerusalem, is laid to heart by her who makes complaint, so that, in Lamentations 1:18, she owns God's justice, and lets herself be roused to ask for pity, Lamentations 1:19-22.

Starting with the acknowledgment that Jahveh is righteous, because Jerusalem has opposed His word, the sorrowing one anew (Lamentations 1:18, as in Lamentations 1:12) calls on the nations to regard her sorrow, which attains its climax when her children, in the bloom of youth, are taken captives by the enemy. But she finds no commiseration among men; for some, her former friends, prove faithless, and her counsellors have perished (Lamentations 1:19); therefore she turns to God, making complaint to Him of her great misery (Lamentations 1:20), because the rest, her enemies, even rejoice over her misery (Lamentations 1:21): she prays that God may punish these. Gerlach has properly remarked, that this conclusion of the chapter shows Jerusalem does not set forth her fate as an example for the warning of the nations, nor desires thereby to obtain commiseration from them in her present state (Michaelis, Rosenmller, Thenius, Vaihinger); but that the apostrophe addressed to the nations, as well as that to passers-by (Lamentations 1:12), is nothing more than a poetic turn, used to express the boundless magnitude of this her sorrow and her suffering. On the confession "Righteous is Jahveh," cf. Jeremiah 12:1; Deuteronomy 32:4; 2 Chronicles 12:6; Psalm 119:37, etc. "Because I have rebelled against His mouth" (i.e., His words and commandments), therefore I am suffering what I have merited. On מרה , cf. Numbers 20:24; 1 Kings 13:26. כּל־עמּים (without the article, which the Qeri supplies) is a form of expression used in poetry, which often drops the article; moreover, we must here bear in mind, that it is not by any means the idea of the totality of the nations that predominates, but nations are addressed merely in indefinite generality: the expression in the text means nations of all places and countries. In order to indicate the greatness of her grief, the sorrowing one mentions the carrying into captivity of the young men and virgins, who are a mother's joy and hope.

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