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God’s Warnings Fulfilled


How the Lord in his anger

has humiliated daughter Zion!

He has thrown down from heaven to earth

the splendor of Israel;

he has not remembered his footstool

in the day of his anger.



The Lord has destroyed without mercy

all the dwellings of Jacob;

in his wrath he has broken down

the strongholds of daughter Judah;

he has brought down to the ground in dishonor

the kingdom and its rulers.



He has cut down in fierce anger

all the might of Israel;

he has withdrawn his right hand from them

in the face of the enemy;

he has burned like a flaming fire in Jacob,

consuming all around.



He has bent his bow like an enemy,

with his right hand set like a foe;

he has killed all in whom we took pride

in the tent of daughter Zion;

he has poured out his fury like fire.



The Lord has become like an enemy;

he has destroyed Israel.

He has destroyed all its palaces,

laid in ruins its strongholds,

and multiplied in daughter Judah

mourning and lamentation.



He has broken down his booth like a garden,

he has destroyed his tabernacle;

the L ord has abolished in Zion

festival and sabbath,

and in his fierce indignation has spurned

king and priest.



The Lord has scorned his altar,

disowned his sanctuary;

he has delivered into the hand of the enemy

the walls of her palaces;

a clamor was raised in the house of the L ord

as on a day of festival.



The L ord determined to lay in ruins

the wall of daughter Zion;

he stretched the line;

he did not withhold his hand from destroying;

he caused rampart and wall to lament;

they languish together.



Her gates have sunk into the ground;

he has ruined and broken her bars;

her king and princes are among the nations;

guidance is no more,

and her prophets obtain

no vision from the L ord.



The elders of daughter Zion

sit on the ground in silence;

they have thrown dust on their heads

and put on sackcloth;

the young girls of Jerusalem

have bowed their heads to the ground.



My eyes are spent with weeping;

my stomach churns;

my bile is poured out on the ground

because of the destruction of my people,

because infants and babes faint

in the streets of the city.



They cry to their mothers,

“Where is bread and wine?”

as they faint like the wounded

in the streets of the city,

as their life is poured out

on their mothers’ bosom.



What can I say for you, to what compare you,

O daughter Jerusalem?

To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you,

O virgin daughter Zion?

For vast as the sea is your ruin;

who can heal you?



Your prophets have seen for you

false and deceptive visions;

they have not exposed your iniquity

to restore your fortunes,

but have seen oracles for you

that are false and misleading.



All who pass along the way

clap their hands at you;

they hiss and wag their heads

at daughter Jerusalem;

“Is this the city that was called

the perfection of beauty,

the joy of all the earth?”



All your enemies

open their mouths against you;

they hiss, they gnash their teeth,

they cry: “We have devoured her!

Ah, this is the day we longed for;

at last we have seen it!”



The L ord has done what he purposed,

he has carried out his threat;

as he ordained long ago,

he has demolished without pity;

he has made the enemy rejoice over you,

and exalted the might of your foes.



Cry aloud to the Lord!

O wall of daughter Zion!

Let tears stream down like a torrent

day and night!

Give yourself no rest,

your eyes no respite!



Arise, cry out in the night,

at the beginning of the watches!

Pour out your heart like water

before the presence of the Lord!

Lift your hands to him

for the lives of your children,

who faint for hunger

at the head of every street.



Look, O L ord, and consider!

To whom have you done this?

Should women eat their offspring,

the children they have borne?

Should priest and prophet be killed

in the sanctuary of the Lord?



The young and the old are lying

on the ground in the streets;

my young women and my young men

have fallen by the sword;

in the day of your anger you have killed them,

slaughtering without mercy.



You invited my enemies from all around

as if for a day of festival;

and on the day of the anger of the L ord

no one escaped or survived;

those whom I bore and reared

my enemy has destroyed.


Jeremiah expresses the same thing in various ways; but all that he says tends to shew that it was an evidence of God’s extreme vengeance, when the people, the city, and the Temple, were destroyed. But it ought to be observed, that God is here represented as the author of that calamity: the Prophet would have otherwise lamented in vain over the ruin of his own country; but as in all adversities he acknowledged the hand of God, he afterwards added, that God had a just reason why he was so grievously displeased with his own people.

He then says, that every horn had been broken by God. We know that by horn is meant strength as well as excellency or dignity and I am disposed to include both here, though the word breaking seems rather to refer to strength or power. But the whole clause must be noticed, that God had broken every horn of Israel in the indignation of his wrath. The Prophet intimates that God had not been angry with his people as though he had been offended by slight transgressions, but that the measure of his wrath had been unusual, even because the impiety of the people had so burst forth, that the offense given to God could not have been slight. Then, by indignation of wrath the Prophet does not mean an excess, as though God had through a violent impulse rushed forth to take vengeance; but he rather intimates that the people had become so wicked, that it did not behoove God to punish in an ordinary way an impiety so inveterate.

He then adds, that God had withdrawn, his right hand from before the enemy, and that at the same time he had burned like a fire, the flame of which had devoured all around. The Prophet here refers to two things; the first is, that though God had been accustomed to help his people, and to oppose their enemies, as they had experienced his aid in the greatest dangers, yet now his people were forsaken and left destitute of all hope. The first clause, then, declares, that God would not be the deliverer of his people as formerly, because they had forsaken him. But he speaks figuratively, that God had drawn back his right hand; and God’s right hand means his protection, as it is well known. But the Prophet’s meaning is by no means obscure, even that there was hereafter no hope that God would meet the enemies of his people, and thus preserve them in safety, for he had drawn back his hand. 149149     Gataker, Henry, Blayney, and Henderson, consider “the right hand” as that of Israel — that God drew back or restrained the right hand of Israel, so that he had no power to face his enemies. But Scott agrees with Calvin; and favorable to the same view are the early versions, except the Syr., for they render the pronoun, “his own — suam:” the Targ. also takes the same view. Had the word been “hand,” it might have been applied to Israel; but it is “the right hand,” which commonly means protection, or rather God’s power, as put forth to defend his people and to resist enemies. This is farther confirmed by what is said in the following verse, that God “stood with his right hand as an adversary.” See Psalm 74:11Ed. But there is a second thing added, even that God’s hand burned like fire. Now it was in itself a grievous thing that the people had been so rejected by God, that no help could be expected from him; but it was still a harder thing, that he went forth armed to destroy his people. And the metaphor of fire ought to be noticed; for had he said that God’s right hand was against his people, the expression would not have been so forcible; but when he compared God’s right hand to fire which burned, and whose flame consumed all Israel, it was a much more dreadful thing. 150150     The last clause may be literally rendered thus, —
   And he burned in Jacob as fire,
the flame devoured around.

    — Ed

Moreover, by these words the Israelites were reminded that they were not to lament their calamities in an ordinary way, but ought, on the contrary, to have seriously considered the cause of all their evils, even the provoking of God’s wrath against themselves; and not only so, but that God was angry with them in an unusual degree, and yet justly, so that they had no reason to complain. It follows, —

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