Final Part II

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  • revision - matière potentielle : the n. t. text
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Page 1 of 23 The Lord's Command to Baptize: Part II A Disputed Ending of a Gospel Introduction What is regularly called the Greek New Testament is a text that does not come to us directly from the hands of the apostles. Rather, it is a critical compilation of what scholars deem to be the most original text, utilizing thousands of Greek manuscripts.1 In addition to these manuscripts, scholars consult texts that are translated into other languages, church lectionaries, and both allusions and citations of the New Testament found in the church fathers.
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An Exegetical Commentary on

Lamentations












James E. Smith

Originally published in the Bible Study Textbook Series, College Press, 1972.
Revised Edition 2006
1
INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS

Lamentations is one of those Old Testament writings which has yet to receive its full share of
recognition and appreciation by the Christian world. The reason for the neglect of this little book is
not difficult to discover. In the popular view Lamentations is a somber and gloomy record of
unrelieved grief as Jeremiah weeps over the ruins of Jerusalem. When viewed in this manner there
is little about Lamentations that would attract the Bible student. However, the book is much more
than a cheerless protest of the inequities of life. It is more than “a cloudburst of grief, a river of
tears, a sea of sobs” as one writer has called it. This five-fold poem is really an affirmation of faith
in the justice and goodness of God. The author has tasted the bitter dregs of pain and sorrow, of
cruelty and ignominy, of frustration and loneliness and yet he dares to cling to a faith undaunted, a
faith which triumphs over circumstances. The book endeavors to explain history and place
calamities in proper perspective. When the true purpose of Lamentations is recognized this amazing
little book has a great deal to contribute to a Christian understanding of war and natural
catastrophes.

TITLE AND POSITION

Like several other OT books Lamentations originally took its title from the first Hebrew word
of the book. The book is called Ekah which is an exclamation expressing sorrow and sympathy.
Ekab in English may be translated “alas” or “how sad it is.” The same Hebrew word also introduces
the second and fourth chs of the book. Later Jewish teachers referred to the book by another
Hebrew title calling it Qinoth or “laments.” It is still known by this title in the Babylonian Talmud.
The scholars who translated the Old Testament into Greek during the intertestamental period
entitled the book Threnoi, the Greek word meaning “lamentations.” At still a later time in the
Greek, Syriac and Latin versions of the Old Testament the longer title “The Lamentations of
Jeremiah” was applied.
Though evidence is somewhat scanty it would seem that Lamentations was originally
considered by the Jews as an appendix to the Book of Jeremiah. The Jewish historian Josephus at
the end of the first Christian century stated that the Hebrew Bible consisted of twenty-two books —
1five books of law, thirteen books by prophets and four books of “songs and hymns.” According to
the Jewish method of counting, 1-2 Samuel were one book as were 1-2 Kings and 1-2 Chronicles.
The twelve Minor Prophets were counted as one book and Ezra-Nehemiah were counted as a single
book as well. Taking all this into account one would still have a total of twenty-four books instead
of the twenty-two mentioned by Josephus. The only method of arriving at the figure twenty-two is
to count Jeremiah-Lamentations as one book and Judges-Ruth as one. It is interesting that several
2of the early Church Fathers also speak of the twenty-two books of the Hebrew Bible.
At some point subsequent to the time that Josephus wrote (AD 90), several books were removed
from the prophetic division of the canon and assigned to the third division which was called in the
Hebrew the Kethubhim (“Writings”) and in the Greek the Hagiography (“Holy Writings”). The
Book of Lamentations was at that time removed from its position as an appendix to the Book of
Jeremiah and was counted as part of the third division. Lamentations was placed alongside of Ruth,

1Josephus, Agaimt Apion I. 8
2E.g., Melito of Sardis (A.D. 180), Origen (A.D. 250), Augustine (A.D. 420), and Jerome (A.D. 405).
2 Esther, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Collectively these five little books became known the
Megilloth, the Five Rolls. Already as early as the writing of 2 Esdras (ca. AD 100) this switch in the
position of Lamentations seems to have taken place. This is indicated by the fact that the author of
2 Esdras gave the total of books in the Hebrew Bible as twenty -four meaning that Ruth had been
severed from Judges and Lamentations from Jeremiah.

BACKGROUND AND OCCASION

The destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC was without doubt the most significant event to
transpire in the political and religious history of Israel since the Exodus from Egypt. Scarcely any
room for doubt exists that it was this momentous event which, on the human side, precipitated the
writing of the Book of Lamentations.
In retaliation against the rebellion of his vassal king Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege
of Jerusalem for eighteen long months. Lamentations describes in the most vivid manner the
terrible suffering to which the Jews were subjected during the siege. When the city finally was
captured the Chaldean king ordered it completely demolished. To see their beloved sacred city go
up in flames was a shocking—even stupefying—experience. In spite of the incessant preaching of
the prophets who warned of this very thing, the Jews were totally unprepared for it. For over a
hundred years since the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah the
popular notion had been that Jerusalem was inviolable and secure. Events had demonstrated the
basic premise of their theology to be false. Added to the tremendous burden of their grief over what
had befallen their nation was their feeling of having been utterly rejected by God.

THEME AND CONTENT

Lamentations is a sad book. The basic theme of the book is a lament over the terrible woes
which have befallen sinful Judah and the destruction of the Holy City and the Temple of God. The
book consists of four dirges (chs. 1-4) and one prayer (ch. 5) which were written in those agonizing
days following the capture and destruction of Jerusalem. As one reads the book he can sense the
depths of despondency into which the people had fallen. In these proms the poet has attempted to
capture the mood of the people. This was not particularly difficult for him to do since he seems to
have been personally involved in their suffering. For the most part the poems contain descriptions
of the plight of the people, their land and their sacred city. Here and there are confessions of sin,
declarations of penitence, and appeals for divine aid.
Outlining the Book of Lamentations is somewhat difficult because the theme does not show
significant variation from one ch to another. The outline used here has been adapted from that of C.
3Paul Gray.

1. A Widowed City 1:1-22
2. A Broken People 2:1-22
3. A Suffering Prophet 3:1-66
4. A Ruined Kingdom 4:1-22
5. A Penitent Nation 5:1-22

FORM AND STRUCTURE

3“The Lamentations of Jeremiah,” in vol. IV of Beacon Bible Commentary (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1966).
3
Lamentations is written entirely in poetic form. Hebrew poetry as a rule does not involve rhyme
but rather is a poetry of thought. The second and third lines of each verse will repeat the thought of
the first line in different words (synonymous parallelism) or develop further the thought of the first
line (synthetic parallelism) or negate the thought of the first line (antithetic parallelism). The
metrical structure used in the Book of Lamentations is known as the Qinah or lament rhythm. This
is the meter most commonly used in the ancient Near East for chanting dirges over the dead or
lamenting national calamities. In Qinah rhythm the second line of each verse is one stress shorter
than the first line. As a rule in Lamentations the pattern is three stresses in the first line, two in the
second, and three in the third line. This meter, practically obscured in English translation, becomes
apparent as one reads the Hebrew text aloud.
The four dirges in the Book of Lamentations are in the form of alphabetic acrostics in which the
author begins each verse with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapters 1, 2 and 4 have
twenty-two vv, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Chapter 3 contains sixty-six vv since
three vv are assigned to each Hebrew letter. The following chart will illustrate more completely the
structure of the book.

STRUCTURE OF LAMENTATIONS
Poem Verses Lines in Each Verse Acrostic Pattern
POEM I 22 Three lines in each verse; verse Each verse begins with a new
7 has four lines letter.
POEM II 22 Three lines in each verse; verse Each verse begins with a new
19 has four lines. letter. The sixteenth and
seventeenth letters reversed.
POEM III 66 One line in each verse. Each letter repeated at beginning
of three successive lines or vv
Sixteenth and seventeenth letters
reversed.
POEM IV 22 Two lines in each verse. Each verse begins with a new
letter. Sixteenth and seventeenth
letters reversed.
POEM V 22 Two lines in each verse. No acrostic pattern

From the above chart it becomes obvious that the author of Lamentations was not a slave to
form. He varied the number of lines in a verse and the number of vv which would be assigned to
each Hebrew letter. In three of the poems he reversed the order of two Hebrew letters apparently in
order to maintain his sequence of thought.
The author’s reasons for utilizing the acrostic pattern in the first four poems is unclear. Some
scholars feel that the acrostic served as a mnemonic device to aid the memory as these laments
were publicly recited. It may be also that the author used this technique in order to give a sense of
4continuity and completeness to the expression of grief. When one goes from a to z (or in the
Hebrew, from Aleph to Tav) in expressing his grief he seems to have said all that can be said. The
5acrostic device is also used by other sacred writers.

AUTHORSHIP AND DATE


4Kuist, op. cit., 141.
5Psalms 25; 34; 35; 111; 112; 119; 145; Prov. 31:10-31.
4 The book of Lamentations does not expressly identify the author and therefore one must avoid
being dogmatic on this point. However, there does seem to be rather substantial external and
internal evidence that Jeremiah the prophet is to be credited with having written this work. The
external evidence is as follows.
1. That Jeremiah the prophet did compose laments on at least one occasion is clearly affirmed
by 2 Chr 35:25. While this verse does not refer to the Book of Lamentations, it does connect
Jeremiah with the lamentation-type of literature. The book of Jeremiah itself indicates that Jeremiah
was familiar with the vocabulary and the techniques of writing laments.
2. The earliest written source to ascribe the book to Jeremiah is the Greek version of
Lamentations. This translation of Lamentations probably completed around 200 BC contains an
introductory note which reads: “And it came to pass after Israel was carried away captive and
Jerusalem was made desolate that Jeremiah sat weeping, and he lamented with this lamentation
over Jerusalem, and he said . . .” The Latin Vulgate version of Lamentations carries essentially the
same heading and the Arabic version reproduces this introductory note exactly.
3. The Targum or Aramaic paraphrase of Jonathan which dates to ca. 100 BC opens the Book of
Lamentations with this line: “Jeremiah the prophet and chief priest said.”
4. The Talmud, that vast reservoir of Jewish law and tradition, states: “Jeremiah wrote his book,
6Kings and Lamentations.”
5. All the ancient Church Fathers regarded Jeremiah as the author of Lamentations.
The internal evidence is equally strong in favor of the Jeremian authorship of Lamentations.
Not even the most radical scholars can deny that the character and spirit of Jeremiah is the same as
that of the author of Lamentations. Both books are full of sympathy for the people of Zion in their
hour of judgment. Both books strongly emphasize the point that the destruction of Jerusalem was a
punishment for sin. The author of Lamentations had precisely the same attitude toward false priests
and prophets (4: 13-1 6) as did Jeremiah. In addition to these general points of agreement between
Jeremiah and Lamentations, a number of similarities of thought and expression have been pointed
7out.
Modern Old Testament critics deny that Jeremiah penned the poems that make up the Book of
Lamentations. They assign this material to various anonymous authors some of whom lived as
much as two hundred years after the fall of Jerusalem. Usually the second and fourth poems are
said to be the oldest while the third is generally regarded by the critics as the latest. Pfeiffer dates
the third poem to as late as the third pre-Christian century. The arguments which have been
advanced to deny the traditional view that Jeremiah is the author of the book may be summarized
as follows:
1. Lamentations contains a number of words not found in Jeremiah or found there only in a
different form. Answer: Does this prove difference of authorship? The vocabulary of an author may
change from one work to another depending upon the time, form and subject matter of the new
composition.
2. The acrostic pattern employed in Lamentations is foreign to Jeremiah. Answer: While this
observation is true, does it really prove anything regarding authorship? The form which a
composition assumes is determined by the objective of the author. A versatile writer may utilize
several different forms of composition during his career. But it should be noted that in the Book of

6Baba Bathra 15a.
7Jer 8:21 & Lam 1:15; Jer 9:1, 18 & Lam 1:16; 2:11; Jer 30:14 & Lam 1:2; Jer 49:12 & Lam 4:21; Jer 30:14 & 2:4; Jer 38:6 & Lam
3:53, 54; Jer 18:6 & Lam 4:2; Jer 4:13 & Lam 4:19.
5 Jeremiah a predilection for alphabetical manipulation occurs in at least three passages. See
comments on Jeremiah 25:26, 51:41 and 51:1.
3. The acrostic arrangements of the poems in the book vary; therefore the poems must be by
different authors. Answer: Surely no one would demand that a modern poet never vary his form.
4. The author of Lamentations (4:17) expected help from Egypt; Jeremiah did not. Answer:
Lamentations 4:17 makes no mention of Egypt. Furthermore the author of Lamentations frequently
speaks for the nation and reflects the attitudes which they might have had.
5. The author of Lamentations (3:59-66) pictures the Chaldeans as wicked enemies deserving of
divine judgment; Jeremiah considered them as instruments used of God for the chastisement of
Judah. Answer: Jeremiah did in fact predict the destruction of Babylon (Jer 50-51). The idea that
the Chaldeans were at the same time an agent of God and an enemy which must ultimately be
destroyed are not mutually exclusive. Since the author of Lamentations attributes the Chaldean
destruction of Jerusalem to God, he too must have viewed these foreigners as the agents of God.
6. The author of Lamentations was bewildered and perplexed over the destruction of Jerusalem
while Jeremiah had been expecting and predicting that destruction for years. Answer: One has only
to reread the personal prayers of Jeremiah to realize that the prophet had his share of bewilderment.
Furthermore it must always be kept in mind that the author of Lamentations speaks for the entire
community, not just for himself when he expresses shock and lack of comprehension over the
destruction.
7. The author of Lamentations had a much higher estimate of king Zedekiah than did Jeremiah
(Lam 4:1922; Jer 24:8-10). Answer: There is no indication that Jeremiah had anything but respect
for Zedekiah in his capacity as the head of the nation. Furthermore Lamentations 4:19-22 reflects
the thinking of the people not the prophet who wrote the book.
The arguments against the traditional view that Jeremiah wrote the Book of Lamentations are
singularly weak. Certainly the book seems to have been written by one who was an eyewitness of
the destruction of Jerusalem. Who better than Jeremiah can be nominated as author of these poems
8which Gottwald has declared are “without peer” among the collective laments of the ancient Near
East?

PURPOSE AND USE

Why was the Book of Lamentations written? Why was it included in the sacred canon? The
book served a useful purpose in at least three different ways. Psychologically, Lamentations served
the purpose of giving expression to the agony of a distraught people. Suffering men must give vent
to their emotions in some way. Even though their grief was too deep for words the poet felt
compelled to make an attempt to express the agony of his people through these sad but beautiful
poems. Verbalization of grief and suffering, both physical and spiritual, has therapeutic value.
Liturgically the poems of Lamentations served as the means by which the congregation of Israel
could express sorrow over their national loss. Theologically the book served the purpose of helping
the people of Judah maintain their faith in God in the midst of overwhelming disaster.
Lamentations expresses the conviction that God has dealt justly with His people. The author desires
that his people recognize the righteousness of God’s dealings with them and cast themselves upon
the mercy of the Lord.
Lamentations is read in Jewish synagogues on the ninth of the month of Ab (which falls at the
end of July or early August), a fast day which commemorates the destruction of the Temple.

8Norman Gottwald, Studies in the Book of Lamentations, (Chicago: Allenson, 1954), 111.
6 Roman Catholics read selections from the book during the last three days before Resurrection
Sunday. Passages from Lamentations are also used in certain Protestant liturgies.

REVIEW

1. The Book of Lamentations is known in Hebrew Bible by the name ________.
2. In the Septuagint (Greek Version) this book is called _______.
3. Lamentations seems to have originally been attached to ———.
4. In the modern Hebrew Bible Lamentations is found in the section called _______.
5. The event which precipitated the writing of Lamentations was ______ which occurred in
_________.
6. Three types of Hebrew poetry are __________, ___________ and __________.
7. Only ch_____ is not written in acrostic pattern.
8. What is the purpose of the Book of Lamentations?
9. Why do some critics deny that Jeremiah wrote Lamentations?
10. Why did the author write four of the poems in Lamentations in the acrostic pattern?


EXEGESIS OF LAMENTATIONS

A WIDOWED CITY
1:1-22

Chapter one of Lamentations has two major divisions. In vv 1-11 the prophet laments the
present condition of Zion. Twice in this unit the prophet alludes to his own personal agony over the
destruction of Jerusalem (cf. vv 9, 11). In vv 12-22 the city itself laments over its condition. Both
units end in prayers which call upon God to take note of the plight of Zion and to execute
vengeance upon the enemies of Zion. The entire ch is written in acrostic style, every fourth line
beginning with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

LAMENT OVER THE CITY
1:1-11

The prophet’s lament over the condition of Jerusalem moves through three stages. Verses 1-7
contain a lengthy description of the present condition of Jerusalem and of her former inhabitants.
This description is followed by an explanation of the present condition in vv 8-9b. The lament
closes with a prayer which calls upon God to take note of the plight of His people.

A. Description of the Present Condition (1:1-7):
1. Physical plight (1:1-3):
a. Depopulation (1:1): How sad that the city, once filled with people, sits alone; that
she who was great among the nations has become like a widow; that she who was
a princess among the provinces has become a vassal. Jeremiah’s lament over
Jerusalem begins with the exclamation “how” or “how sad,” a word frequently used
7 9to begin a funeral dirge. Jerusalem is personified as a widowed princess who sits
alone in the night weeping over the loss of her husband and children. The loneliness
of widowhood is emphasized in this lament. The once populous city is now empty.
That city which had once enjoyed no small degree of notoriety among the nations is
now obscure. The proud princess of provinces has been reduced to the state of abject
poverty and slavery.
b. Desertion (1:2): She weeps bitterly by night, tears on her cheek; she has no one to
comfort her among all her lovers; all her friends have dealt treacherously against
her, becoming her enemies. Every night the widowed city weeps over her plight but
she has no one to wipe the tears from her cheek. Her “lovers” (political allies) and
her “friends” (neighboring nations) have deserted her. Those who had once courted
her assistance and who had so willingly offered themselves to her have now become
her most bitter enemies.
c. Explanation (1:3): Judah has gone captive out of affliction and great servitude;
she dwells among the nations but finds no resting place; all her pursuers have
overtaken her in the straits. The children of Zion have been carried away captive by
the Chaldeans and now dwell on foreign soil. Even though this deportation was in a
sense a relief from “affliction” —the miseries of war, famine and pestilence—and
“servitude”—the bitter bondage to cruel oppressors like Neco (2 Kgs 23:33) and
Nebuchadnezzar—still the children of Zion found no real rest. Living among
Gentiles they find themselves plagued by worry and doubt, depressed by
homesickness, surrounded by idolatry, tormented by the realization that their God
has inflicted this great punishment upon them because of their spiritual rebellion.
From this captivity there is no escape. This is the point of the figurative expression
“all her pursuers have overtaken her in the straits.” Narrow mountain passes make it
almost impossible for a fugitive to escape from those who would pursue him. So
also is escape only a remote possibility for those living in foreign exile.
2. Spiritual plight (1:4-5):
a. Mourning (1:4): The roads to Zion mourn because no one comes to the appointed
feasts; all her gates are desolate, her priests sigh continually, her maidens are
sorrowful and she herself is in bitterness. The roads leading to Zion are said to
weep because pilgrims no longer travel them. The solemn festivals of the law of
Moses were no longer observed for the city had been destroyed. The city gates,
which formerly had bustled with business, now lay desolate. The priests mourn
because they can no longer sing their beautiful hymns or play their instruments (Ps
68:24, 25) in the Temple.
b. Humiliation (1:5): Her foes have become her head, her enemies are happy because
the LORD has made her suffer because of the multitude of her transgressions; her
children have gone into captivity before the foe. The enemies of Zion now have the
upper hand. They mockingly rejoice over the misfortune which Jerusalem has
experienced. Even little children have suffered at the hands of the cruel oppressor as
they have been forced to walk that long, weary road to exile. Why does Zion suffer
and her enemies prosper? Jerusalem’s troubles are due to the multitude of her
transgressions. Zion’s God in righteous indignation has inflicted these penalties
upon His people.

9See Lamentations 2:1; 4:1; Isaiah 1:21: Jeremiah 48:17.
8 3. Mental plight (1:6-7):
a. Flight (1:6): From the daughter of Zion all beauty has departed. Her princes have
become like harts that cannot find a pasture; they have fled without strength
before the pursuer. The widowed daughter of Zion is ugly, weak and helpless. All
her beauty—that which made her the envy of other nations—is gone. The princes of
the nation are so destitute of strength that they are compared to wild harts which can
find no pasture. Unable to withstand the pursuers the princes have fled.
b. Memories (1:7): In the days of her affliction and wanderings Jerusalem
remembers all the precious things which were hers from days of old. When her
people fell into the hand of the foe and there was no one to help her; the foe
watched, gloating over her demise. The weakened and widowed condition of
Jerusalem is aggravated by the bitter recollections of past privileges. She remembers
the “precious things,” the gracious gifts which the Lord had bestowed upon her
when she dwelt within her own land. Since Jerusalem had despised both the gifts
and the Giver she was forced to enter into a period of affliction and wanderings. But
no one commiserates with her in her agony. Her former friends, having become her
foes, gloat over the demise and downfall of Zion. One of the miseries of sin in this
world and hell in the next will be the constant recollection of the days when one
enjoyed the blessings and graces of God.

B. Explanation of the Present Condition of Zion (1:8-9a):
1. Shameful sin (1:8): Jerusalem sinned grievously and therefore she has become filthy;
all who once honored her now despise her, having seen her nakedness; even she
herself sighs and turns away. Having hinted at the reason for Zion’s present misery in v
5, the poet now develops that theme. The root of Jerusalem’s trouble lay in the fact that
she had sinned grievously against her God. Those who once honored Zion now have no
respect for her. As God began to strip Zion of her splendor only filth could be seen, the
filth of blatant sins and vices. An individual or nation that commits iniquity forfeits the
respect of others. Sin results ultimately in contempt. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but
sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov 14:34). Even Zion herself moans and turns away
in shame as her filthiness comes into public view.
2. Thoughtless sin (1:9): Her uncleanness was in her skirts! She did not remember her
end and so her fall is terrible, she has no one to comfort her. When one begins to gain
some insight into the true character of sin he is shocked and shamed. He cannot stand to
face the gaze of others let alone the scrutiny of God. For a time Zion was able to conceal
her filthiness beneath skirts of external prosperity. Her sin was an inward perversity.
She was as morally unclean as a menstruous woman was ceremonially unclean under
the law of Moses. Yet during the period of her prosperity she gave no thought to her
latter end, i.e., the ultimate consequences of her evil ways. She lived only for the present
and deceived herself into believing that God’s repeated threats of national destruction
simply could not come to pass. This is what made her final fall so shocking, so
inconceivable, so terrible. That plus the fact that she had no one to comfort her or extend
sympathy to her. How much more bitter one’s grief and loss when no one else really
cares!

C. Prayer for Present Condition of Zion (1:9b-11):
9 1. Observe the affliction (1:9b): Behold, O LORD, my affliction, for the enemy has
exalted himself. Keenly feeling Judah’s affliction as his own Jeremiah cries out in
desperation to God. In narrative prayer he summarizes the present plight of Zion. The
enemy has become haughty and overbearing.
2. Observe the humiliation (1:10): The foe has spread forth his hand over her precious
things. She has even seen the Gentiles entering her sanctuary, those whom You have
forbidden to enter Your congregation. All of the precious things, the gracious gifts that
God had given Judah, had fallen into the hand of the enemy. Gentiles had even
desecrated the sacred precincts of the Temple.
3. Observe the dismay (1:11): All of her people are sighing as they seek bread; they trade
their precious things for bread. Behold, O LORD, and observe! For I am dismayed.
The people of Jerusalem groveled for enough food to keep alive. They were forced to
trade their most valuable possessions for their daily bread. As the spokesman for his
people Jeremiah calls upon God to take note of the misery of His people and the dismay
of His prophet.

LAMENT BY THE CITY
1:12-22

In vv 12-22 the lonely, tearful widow takes up her lament. She appeals to passers-by (vv 12-
16), to neighboring nations (vv 17-19) and to God (vv 20-22).

A. Appeal to Passers-by (1:12-16):
1. Magnitude of Zion’s suffering (1:12): Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by?
Behold and see if there exists any sorrow comparable to that which has been brought
upon me, which the LORD inflicted upon me in the day of his fierce anger. Unable to
bear any longer the weight of her misery Zion cries out in desperation to the caravaners
and travelers who walk the busy trade routes near Jerusalem, “Is it nothing to you?” Do
you not care what has happened to me? Have you no sympathy to offer me? Zion
challenges the passers-by to name one city which they have observed in their wide
travels whose sufferings are comparable to that of Jerusalem. Zion apparently feels that
her suffering is unique and unparalleled. After all it is the Lord, Zion’s God, who has
administered the painful and fatal stroke in the day of His fierce anger.
2. Yahweh’s judgment on Zion (1:13-15):
a. Fire and net (1:13): From on high he has sent forth fire into my bones and it
prevailed over them; He spread a net for my feet making me turn back; He has
made me astonished with sorrow all the day. The Lord has sent the fiery bolts of
His wrath upon them from heaven. The very bones of their body seem to burn within
them. Perhaps the city’s misery is here being compared to a burning fever. The Lord
has also spread nets for the feet of Zion causing them to fall into the hands of her
enemies. Her sorrow is so great that she is astonished, i.e., has entered into a state of
stupefaction.
b. Yoke (1:14): The yoke of my transgression was bound by His hand; they were
fastened together, placed upon my neck. He caused my strength to fail! The Lord
gave me into the hands of those whom I cannot resist. God had taken all of their
unforgiven sins and had woven them together in a yoke which was so heavy that the
10