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Lamentations 2:8

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 The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.

8. Cogitavit Jehova ut perderet murum filiae Sion, extendit lineam, non retraxit manum suam a dissipatione; itaque luxit antemurale, et murus; pariter corruerunt (vel, eversi sunt.)

 

The verb to think, has more force than what is commonly assigned to it; for it would be very flat to say, that God thought to destroy; but to think here means to resolve or to decree. 153153     The verb is often used in this secondary sense, to purpose or resolve or determine, as the result of thinking. The Vulg. and the Targ. very improperly retain its primary meaning, but the Syr. gives that of resolving or determining. — Ed. This is one thing. And then we must bear in mind the contrast between this and those false imaginations, by which men are wont to be drawn away, so as not to believe that God is present in adversities as well as prosperity. As, therefore, men go willfully astray through various false thoughts, and thus withdraw themselves, as it were, designedly from God, the Prophet says here that the walls of Jerusalem had not fallen by chance, but had been overthrown through a divine decree, because God had so determined, according to what we have seen in many places throughout the book of Jeremiah: “See, these are the thoughts which God has thought respecting Jerusalem, which he has thought respecting Babylon.” The Prophet, then, in these instances, taught what he now confirms in this place, that when the city Jerusalem was destroyed, it was not what happened by chance; but because God had brought there the Chaldeans, and employed them as his instruments in taking and destroying the city: God, then, has thought to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion. It is, indeed, true, that the Chaldeans had actively carried on the war, and omitted nothing as to military skill, in order to take the city: but the Prophet calls here the attention of the Jews to a different thought, so that they might acknowledge that they suffered justly for their sins, and that God was the chief author of that war, and that the Chaldeans were to be viewed as hired soldiers.

He afterwards adds, that God had extended a line or a rule, as it is usually done in separating buildings. 154154     It was the line of destruction as mentioned in Isaiah 34:11, designed to point out what was to be destroyed. — Ed. And then he says, He hath not drawn back his hand from scattering; and so it was, that the ramparts and the walls mourned, and fell down together 155155     The verbs אבל, to mourn, and אסל, to be faint, to fail, when applied to inanimate things, mean to be desolate and to decay. This clause then ought to be thus rendered, —
   So that he has made desolate the rampart and the wall,
They are become wholly decayed together.

   The connection shows that the where must be rendered, “so that;” and as the last verb has the last letter doubled, the word “wholly” ought to be introduced. — Ed.
We now see that what the Prophet had in view was to lead the Jews fully to believe that the destruction was not to be ascribed to the Chaldeans, but, on the contrary, to God. Added at the same time must be another part of what is here taught, that God would not have been so displeased with the holy city which he had chosen, had not the people extremely provoked him with their sins. It now follows, —


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