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Lamentations 2:2

Context

ב (Bet)

2:2 The Lord 1  destroyed 2  mercilessly 3 

all the homes of Jacob’s descendants. 4 

In his anger he tore down

the fortified cities 5  of Daughter Judah.

He knocked to the ground and humiliated

the kingdom and its rulers. 6 

Lamentations 2:17

Context

ע (Ayin)

2:17 The Lord has done what he planned;

he has fulfilled 7  his promise 8 

that he threatened 9  long ago: 10 

He has overthrown you without mercy 11 

and has enabled the enemy to gloat over you;

he has exalted your adversaries’ power. 12 

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

2 tn Heb “has swallowed up.”

3 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.

4 tn Heb “all the dwellings of Jacob.”

5 tn Heb “the strongholds.”

6 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.”

7 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.

8 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.”

9 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.

10 tn Heb “from days of old.”

11 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.

12 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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