his right hand was ready to shoot. 2
Like a foe he killed everyone,
even our strong young men; 3
he has poured out his anger like fire
on the tent 4 of Daughter Zion.
my stomach is in knots. 7
My heart 8 is poured out on the ground
children and infants faint
in the town squares.
“Where are food and drink?” 13
They faint 14 like a wounded warrior
in the city squares.
They die slowly 15
in their mothers’ arms. 16
when the night watches start! 18
Pour out your heart 19 like water
before the face of the Lord! 20
Lift up your hands 21 to him
for your children’s lives; 22
they are fainting 23
at every street corner. 24
1 tn Heb “bent His bow.” When the verb דָּרַךְ (darakh) is used with the noun קֶשֶׁת (qeshet, “archer-bow”), it means “to bend [a bow]” to string it in preparation for shooting arrows (1 Chr 5:18; 8:40; 2 Chr 14:7; Jer 50:14, 29; 51:3). This idiom is used figuratively to describe the assaults of the wicked (Pss 11:2; 37:14) and the judgments of the
2 tn Heb “His right hand is stationed.”
3 tn Heb “the ones who were pleasing to the eye.”
4 tn The singular noun אֹהֶל (’ohel, “tent”) may function as a collective, referring to all tents in Judah. A parallel expression occurs in verse 2 using the plural: “all the dwellings of Jacob” (כָּל־נְאוֹת יַעֲקֹב, kol-nÿ’ot ya’aqov). The singular “tent” matches the image of “Daughter Zion.” On the other hand, the singular “the tent of Daughter Zion” might be a hyperbolic synecdoche of container (= tent) for contents (= inhabitants of Zion).
5 tn Heb “my eyes are spent” or “my eyes fail.” The verb כָּלָה (kalah) is used of eyes exhausted by weeping (Job 11:20; 17:5; Ps 69:4; Jer 14:6; 4:17), and means either “to be spent” (BDB 477 s.v. 2.b) or “to fail” (HALOT 477 s.v. 6). It means to have used up all one’s tears or to have worn out the eyes because of so much crying. It is rendered variously: “my eyes fail” (KJV, NIV), “my eyes are spent” (RSV, NRSV, NASB, NJPS), “my eyes are worn out” (TEV), and “my eyes are red” (CEV).
6 tn Heb “because of tears.” The plural noun דִּמְעוֹת (dim’ot, “tears”) is an example of the plural of intensity or repeated behavior: “many tears.” The more common singular form דִּמְעָה (dim’ah) normally functions in a collective sense (“tears”); therefore, the plural form here does not indicate simple plural of number.
7 tn Heb “my bowels burn” or “my bowels are in a ferment.” The verb חֳמַרְמְרוּ (khomarmÿru) is an unusual form and derived from a debated root: Poalal perfect 3rd person common plural from III חָמַר (khamar, “to be red,” HALOT 330 s.v. III חמר) or Pe`al`al perfect 3rd person common plural from I חָמַר (khamar, “to ferment, boil up,” BDB 330 s.v. I חָמַר). The Poalal stem of this verb occurs only three times in OT: with פָּנִים (panim, “face,” Job 16:16) and מֵעִים (me’im, “bowels,” Lam 1:20; 2:11). The phrase חֳמַרְמְרוּ מֵעַיּ (khomarmÿru me’ay) means “my bowels burned” (HALOT 330 s.v.) or “my bowels are in a ferment,” as a euphemism for lower-intestinal bowel problems (BDB 330 s.v.). This phrase also occurs in later rabbinic literature (m. Sanhedrin 7:2). The present translation, “my stomach is in knots,” is not a literal equivalent to this Hebrew idiom; however, it is an attempt to approximate the equivalent English idiom.
8 tn Heb “my liver,” viewed as the seat of the emotions.
9 tn Heb “on account of the breaking.”
10 tn Heb “the daughter of my people.” Rather than a genitive of relationship (“daughter of X”), the phrase בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-’ammi) is probably a genitive of apposition. The idiom “Daughter X” occurs often in Lamentations: “Daughter Jerusalem” (2x), “Daughter Zion” (7x), “Virgin Daughter Zion” (1x), “Daughter of My People” (5x), “Daughter Judah” (2x), and “Virgin Daughter Judah” (1x). In each case, it is a poetic description of Jerusalem or Judah as a whole. The idiom בַּת־עַמִּי (bat-’ammi, lit., “daughter of my people” is rendered variously by the English versions: “the daughter of my people” (KJV, RSV, NASB), “my people” (NIV, TEV, CEV), and “my poor people” (NJPS). The metaphor here pictures the people as vulnerable and weak.
11 tn Heb “they”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
12 tn Heb “to their mother,” understood as a collective singular.
13 tn Heb “Where is bread and wine?” The terms “bread” and “wine” are synecdoches of specific (= bread, wine) for general (= food, drink).
14 tn Heb “as they faint” or “when they faint.”
15 tn Heb “as their life is poured out.” The term בְּהִשְׁתַּפֵּךְ (bÿhishtappekh), Hitpael infinitive construct + the preposition בּ (bet), from שָׁפַךְ (shafakh, “to pour out”) may be rendered “as they expire” (BDB 1050 s.v. שָׁפַךְ), referring to the process of dying. Note the repetition of the word “pour out” with various direct objects in this poem at 2:4, 11, 12, and 19.
16 tn Heb “chest, lap.”
17 tc The Kethib is written בַּלַּיִל (ballayil) a defective spelling for בַּלַּיְלָה (ballaylah, “night”). The Qere reads בַּלַּיְלָה (ballaylah, “night”), which is preserved in numerous medieval Hebrew
tn The noun בַּלַּיְלָה (ballaylah, “night”) functions as an adverbial accusative of time: “in the night.”
18 tn Heb “at the head of the watches.”
19 tn The noun לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) functions here as a metonymy of association for the thoughts and emotions in the heart. The Hebrew לֵבָב (levav) includes the mind so that in some cases the translation “heart” implies an inappropriate division between the cognitive and affective. This context is certainly emotionally loaded, but as part of a series of admonitions to address God in prayer, these emotions are inextricably bound with the thoughts of the mind. The singular “heart” is retained in the translation to be consistent with the personification of Jerusalem (cf. v. 18).
21 sn Lifting up the palms or hands is a metaphor for prayer.
22 tn Heb “on account of the life of your children.” The noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) refers to the “life” of their dying children (e.g., Lam 2:12). The singular noun נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “life”) is used as a collective, as the plural genitive noun that follows makes clear: “your children.”
23 tc The BHS editors and many commentators suggest that the fourth bicola in 2:19 is a late addition and should be deleted. Apart from the four sets of bicola in 1:7 and 2:19, every stanza in chapters 1-4 consists of three sets of bicola.
tn Heb “who are fainting.”
24 tn Heb “at the head of every street.”