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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he has withdrawn his right hand from them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.


He means not that their heart really cried to God, for there was no cry in their heart; but by this expression he sets forth the vehemence of their grief, as though he had said, that the heart of the people was oppressed with so much sorrow, that their feelings burst forth into crying; for crying arises from extreme grief, and when any one cries or weeps, he has no control over himself. Silence is a token of patience; but when grief overcomes one, he, as though forgetting himself, necessarily bursts out into crying. This is the reason why he says that their heart cried to Jehovah

But we must observe, that the piety of the people is not here commended, as though they complained of their evils to God in sincerity and with an honest heart: on the contrary, the Prophet means that it was a common cry, often uttered even by the reprobate; for nature in a manner teaches this, that we ought to flee to God when oppressed by evils; and even those who have no fear of God exclaim in their extreme miseries, “God be merciful to us.” And, as I have said, such a cry does not flow from a right feeling or from the true fear of God, but from the strong and turbid impulse of nature: and thus God has from the beginning rendered all mortals inexcusable. So, then, now the Prophet says, that the Jews cried to God, or that their heart cried; not that they looked to God as they ought to have done, or that they deposited with him their sorrows and cast them into his bosom, as the Prophet encourages us to do; but because they found no remedy in the world — for as long as men find any comfort or help in the world, with that they are satisfied. Whence, then, was this crying to God? even because the world offered them nothing in which they could acquiesce; for it is indigenous, as it were, in our nature (that is, corrupt nature) to look around here and there, when any evil oppresses us. Now, when we find, as I have said, anything as a help, even an empty specter, to that we cleave, and never raise up our eyes to God. But when necessity forces us, then we begin to cry to God. Then the Prophet means that the people had been reduced to the greatest straits, when he says that their heart cried to God

He afterwards turns to the wall of Jerusalem, and ascribes understanding to an inanimate thing. O wall of Jerusalem, he says, draw down tears as though thou wert a river; or, as a river; for both meanings may be admitted. But by stating a part for the whole, he includes under the word wall, the whole city, as it is well known. And yet there is still a personification, for neither houses, nor walls, nor gates, nor streets, could shed tears; but Jeremiah could not, except by this hyperbolical language, sufficiently express the extent of their cry. This was the reason why he addressed the very wall of the city, and bade it to shed tears like a river 169169     The meaning suggested by the Vulgate is the most appropriate. The words may be rendered thus, —
   Cried has their heart to the Lord,
“O the wall of the daughter of Sion!” —
Bring down like a torrent the tear, day and night;
Give no rest to thyself.
Let not cease the daughter of thine eye.

   Their exclamation was, “O the wall,” etc. Then follow the words of Jeremiah to the end of the chapter; but the daughter of Sion, not the wall, is exhorted to weep and repent. “The daughter of the eye,” may be the tear, as suggested by Blayney and approved by Horsley; and it would be more suitable here. — Ed.

There seems to be some allusion to the ruins; for the walls of the city had been broken down as though they were melted. And then the Prophet seems to allude to the previous hardness of the people, for their hearts had been extremely stupified. As, then, they never had been flexible, whether addressed by doctrine, or exhortations, or threatenings, he now by implication brings forward in contrast with them the walls of the city, as though he had said, “Hitherto no one of God’s servants could draw even one tear from your eyes, so great was your hardness; but now the very walls weep, for they dissolve, as though they would send forth rivers of waters. Therefore the very stones turn to tears, because ye have hitherto been hardened against God and all prophetic instruction.”

He afterwards adds, Spare not thyself, give not thyself rest day or night, and let not the daughter of thine eye, or the pupil of thine eye, cease, literally, be silent; but to be silent is metaphorically taken in the sense of ceasing or resting. He intimates that there would be, nay, that there was now, an occasion of continual lamentation; and hence he exhorted them to weep day and night; as though he had said, that sorrow would continue without intermission, as there would be no relaxation as to their evils. But we must bear in mind what we have before said, that the Prophet did not speak thus to embitter the sorrow of the people. We indeed know that the minds of men are very tender and delicate while under evils, and then that they rush headlong into impatience; but as they were not as yet led to true repentance, he sets before them the punishment which God had inflicted, that they might thereby be turned to consider their own sins. It follows, —

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