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Lamentations 2:15-17

Context

ס (Samek)

2:15 All who passed by on the road

clapped their hands to mock you. 1 

They sneered and shook their heads

at Daughter Jerusalem.

“Ha! Is this the city they called 2 

‘The perfection of beauty, 3 

the source of joy of the whole earth!’?” 4 

פ (Pe)

2:16 All your enemies

gloated over you. 5 

They sneered and gnashed their teeth;

they said, “We have destroyed 6  her!

Ha! We have waited a long time for this day.

We have lived to see it!” 7 

ע (Ayin)

2:17 The Lord has done what he planned;

he has fulfilled 8  his promise 9 

that he threatened 10  long ago: 11 

He has overthrown you without mercy 12 

and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;

he has exalted your adversaries’ power. 13 

1 tn Heb “clap their hands at you.” Clapping hands at someone was an expression of malicious glee, derision and mockery (Num 24:10; Job 27:23; Lam 2:15).

2 tn Heb “of which they said.”

3 tn Heb “perfection of beauty.” The noun יֹפִי (yofi, “beauty”) functions as a genitive of respect in relation to the preceding construct noun: Jerusalem was perfect in respect to its physical beauty.

4 tn Heb “the joy of all the earth.” This is similar to statements found in Pss 48:2 and 50:2.

5 tn Heb “they have opened wide their mouth against you.”

6 tn Heb “We have swallowed!”

7 tn Heb “We have attained, we have seen!” The verbs מָצָאנוּ רָאִינוּ (matsanu rainu) form a verbal hendiadys in which the first retains its full verbal sense and the second functions as an object complement. It forms a Hebrew idiom that means something like, “We have lived to see it!” The three asyndetic 1st person common plural statements in 2:16 (“We waited, we destroyed, we saw!”) are spoken in an impassioned, staccato style reflecting the delight of the conquerors.

8 tn The verb בָּצַע (batsa’) has a broad range of meanings: (1) “to cut off, break off,” (2) “to injure” a person, (3) “to gain by violence,” (4) “to finish, complete” and (5) “to accomplish, fulfill” a promise.

9 tn Heb “His word.” When used in collocation with the verb בָּצַע (batsa’, “to fulfill,” see previous tn), the accusative noun אִמְרָה (’imrah) means “promise.”

10 tn Heb “commanded” or “decreed.” If a reference to prophetic oracles is understood, then “decreed” is preferable. If understood as a reference to the warnings in the covenant, then “threatened” is a preferable rendering.

11 tn Heb “from days of old.”

12 tn Heb “He has overthrown and has not shown mercy.” The two verbs חָרַס וְלֹא חָמָל (kharas vÿlokhamal) form a verbal hendiadys in which the first retains its verbal sense and the second functions adverbially: “He has overthrown you without mercy.” וְלֹא חָמָל (vÿlokhamal) alludes to 2:2.

13 tn Heb “He has exalted the horn of your adversaries.” The term “horn” (קֶרֶן, qeren) normally refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Israel. This term is often used figuratively as a symbol of strength, usually in reference to the military might of an army (Deut 33:17; 1 Sam 2:1, 10; 2 Sam 22:3; Pss 18:3; 75:11; 89:18, 25; 92:11; 112:9; 1 Chr 25:5; Jer 48:25; Lam 2:3; Ezek 29:21), just as warriors are sometimes figuratively described as “bulls.” To lift up the horn often means to boast and to lift up someone else’s horn is to give victory or cause to boast.



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