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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Lamentations 2

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-22

Lamentations 2:1 . How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud. The day break, but no sun shines, no opening of future hope.

Lamentations 2:2 . The Lord hath swallowed up all the inhabitants of Jacob. The enemy has come in like a flood, the people have disappeared in the vortex.

Lamentations 2:3 . He hath cut off all the horn of Israel. See on Job 15:15. Psalms 112:0.

Lamentations 2:7 . They (the Chaldeans) have made a noise in the house of the Lord, as in the day of a solemn feast. The song and the music were once heard there: now the noise, the cries, the shouts of a storming army. What a reverse of glory for vengeance.

Lamentations 2:8 . The Lord hath stretched out a line on Zion. This is a figure of architecture: the artists measure the ground for a new building, and for the removal of walls and rubbish. So God caused “the measuring line to pass over Samaria.”

Lamentations 2:10 . The elders sit on the ground, and keep silence. Job’s three friends sat down for seven days, indicating the deepest sorrow.

Lamentations 2:11 . The sucklings swoon in the streets, when dying of the blackest famine, or when they asked their mother,

Lamentations 2:12 . Where is corn, דגז dogzt, not parched corn, but bread made of wheat flour, their usual food; and wine, as in former days. These words are the real copies of nature, which always touch the heart. The flood of invasion had made a breach wide as the sea.

Lamentations 2:14 . Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things. To these Jeremiah attributes the ruin of the country. They invariably opposed his ministry. When he predicted war, they predicted peace; when he spake of famine, they foretold fine harvests, and halcyon days. When he raised the cry of invasion, they soothed all fears with the balm of Egypt. Therefore, hardening the people in their sins, they spurned repentance, and boldly rushed on the bucklers of destruction. These prophets were men of influence in the temple, lap-dogs of the highpriest, who stopped at no blasphemy to carry their point. But the priests and the prophets were slain in the sanctuary of the Lord, in the holy temple which their idolatries had profaned: Lamentations 2:20.

Lamentations 2:20 . Shall women eat their fruit children of a span long? This, in case of apostasy, Moses had foretold, with all the consequent horrors. Deuteronomy 28:0.


The poetry here is admirable, and the subject naturally inspires sublimity of thought. The apostrophes are most striking, and the most impressive images of grief. The prophet loses sight of the Chaldeans, in the more exalted view of the Lord’s coming in martial array to fight against his people, to demolish his city, and to make desolate his sanctuary. But when he saw the dead lying in every street, the children asking for corn and wine, and fainting with hunger; when he saw the mothers eating their own children, and the elders sitting with dust on their heads, his eyes failed with tears. Misery unparalleled! Oh what a scene also of priests slain around the altar, to expiate the pollutions of the sanctuary with their blood. The glory is departed; for Ichabod was written on the ruins of Zion in characters far more gloomy than those which befel the house of Eli.

Raised now to all the majesty of grief, he casts an indignant look on the false prophets, now lying slain among the priests. They had frustrated his ministry by counter predictions, they hindered the repentance of the people by promises of peace, and hardened their hearts by falsehood and lies. What an obloquy rests on their memory for ever. But fallen and disgraced as they are, what instruction may not the christian derive from their memory. Never, never, oh pastor, never flatter a people in their sins. They will curse thee for it another day, and God will require their blood at thy hand. It is to betray the charge of God. It is to magnify the maxims of the age above the bible. It is weakness, it is want of courage, it is want of holiness. View, oh minister, view the Lord as in the ten first verses of this chapter, coming to fight against an infidel world with the sharp sword which goeth out of his mouth. Then clothing thy soul with his spirit, fight valiantly, as under thy general’s eye, and sure of victory, return a thousand times to the charge. If ministers were all animated with this spirit, there is no saying what advantages would follow in the cause of morality, and in the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom. But ministers too often assume a profession, because it is a profession. They form parties of pleasure, they dine in public, and attend some of the more decent diversions. Thus when they have sanctioned the errors of the age, then their mouth is shut in the pulpit, the gospel freezes on their lips, and they are incapable of serving God. Their more enlightened and faithful hearers are discouraged and grieved; they would fain speak of what is good in their minister, but are obliged to retain silence on the mention of his name. But let him be assured that a harlot is not more despised by her seducers than the man who has prostituted the honour and glory of his ministry, is despised by the infidels of the age. Be instructed then, oh man, and abandon thy profession for the humblest trade, rather than occasion the ruin of Zion.

The final advice of the prophet to cry in the night, and like Daniel, to afflict the soul with weeping, is most salutary and becoming, till the Lord shall establish and make Jerusalem a praise in the earth, by restoring her to all the promised glory of the latter day.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Lamentations 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/lamentations-2.html. 1835.
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