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Lamentations 2:1-2

Context
The Prophet Speaks:

א (Alef)

2:1 Alas! 1  The Lord 2  has covered

Daughter Zion 3  with his anger. 4 

He has thrown down the splendor of Israel

from heaven to earth;

he did not protect 5  his temple 6 

when he displayed his anger. 7 

ב (Bet)

2:2 The Lord 8  destroyed 9  mercilessly 10 

all the homes of Jacob’s descendants. 11 

In his anger he tore down

the fortified cities 12  of Daughter Judah.

He knocked to the ground and humiliated

the kingdom and its rulers. 13 

1 tn See the note at 1:1.

2 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.

3 sn Chapter 2 continues the use of feminine epithets (e.g., “Daughter Zion”), although initially portraying Jerusalem as an object destroyed by the angered enemy, God.

4 tn The verb יָעִיב (yaiv) is a hapax legomenon (a term that appears only once in Hebrew OT). Most lexicons take it as a denominative verb from the noun עָב (’av, “cloud,” HALOT 773 s.v. II עָב; BDB 728 s.v. עוּב): Hiphil imperfect 3rd person masculine singular from עוֹב (’ov) meaning “cover with a cloud, make dark” (HALOT 794 s.v. עוב) or “becloud” (BDB 728 s.v.): “the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the cloud of His anger.” This approach is followed by many English versions (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV). However, a few scholars relate it to a cognate Arabic verb “to blame, revile” (Ehrlich, Rudolph, Hillers): “the Lord has shamed Daughter Zion in His anger.” Several English versions adopt this (NRSV, NJPS, CEV). The picture of cloud and wrath concurs with the stanza’s connection to “day of the Lord” imagery.

5 tn The common gloss for זָכַר (zakhar) is “remember.” זָכַר (zakhar) entails “bearing something in mind” in a broader sense than the English gloss “remember.” When God “bears someone in mind,” the consequences are beneficial for them. The implication of not regarding his footstool is to not esteem and so not care for or protect it.

6 tn Heb “the footstool of His feet.” The noun הֲדֹם (hadom, “footstool”), always joined with רַגְלַיִם (raglayim, “feet”) is always used figuratively in reference to the dwelling place of God (BDB 213 s.v. הֲדֹם). It usually refers to the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem (Isa 60:13; Lam 2:1) or to the ark as the place above which the Lord is enthroned (Pss 99:5; 132:7; 1 Chr 28:2).

7 tn Heb “in the day of His anger.” As a temporal reference this phrase means “when he displayed his anger.” The Hebrew term “day,” associated with the “day of the Lord” or “day of his wrath” also functions as a title in a technical sense.

8 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (’adonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.

9 tn Heb “has swallowed up.”

10 tc The Kethib is written לֹא חָמַל (lokhamal, “without mercy”), while the Qere reads וְלֹא חָמַל (vÿlokhamal, “and he has shown no mercy”). The Kethib is followed by the LXX, while the Qere is reflected in many Hebrew mss and the ancient versions (Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targum, Latin Vulgate). The English versions are split between the Kethib: “The Lord swallowed all the dwellings of Jacob without mercy” (cf. RSV, NRSV, NIV, TEV, NJPS) and the Qere: “The Lord swallowed all the dwellings of Jacob, and has shown no mercy” (cf. KJV, NASB, CEV). As these words occur between a verb and its object (חָמַל [khamal] is not otherwise followed by אֵת [’et, direct object marker]), an adverbial reading is the most natural, although interrupting the sentence with an insertion is possible. Compare 2:17, 21; 3:43. In contexts of harming, to show mercy often means to spare from harm.

11 tn Heb “all the dwellings of Jacob.”

12 tn Heb “the strongholds.”

13 tn Heb “He brought down to the ground in disgrace the kingdom and its princes.” The verbs חִלֵּלהִגִּיע (higgi’…khillel, “he has brought down…he has profaned”) function as a verbal hendiadys, as the absence of the conjunction ו (vav) suggests. The first verb retains its full verbal force, while the second functions adverbially: “he has brought down [direct object] in disgrace.”



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