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Lamentations 4:11-12

Context

כ (Kaf)

4:11 The Lord fully vented 1  his wrath;

he poured out his fierce anger. 2 

He started a fire in Zion;

it consumed her foundations. 3 

ל (Lamed)

4:12 Neither the kings of the earth

nor the people of the lands 4  ever thought 5 

that enemy or foe would enter

the gates 6  of Jerusalem. 7 

1 tn Heb “has completed.” The verb כִּלָּה (killah), Piel perfect 3rd person masculine singular from כָּלָה (kalah, “to complete”), has a range of closely related meanings: (1) “to complete, bring to an end,” (2) “to accomplish, finish, cease,” (3) “to use up, exhaust, consume.” Used in reference to God’s wrath, it describes God unleashing his full measure of anger so that divine justice is satisfied. This is handled admirably by several English versions: “The Lord has given full vent to his wrath” (NIV), “The Lord gave full vent to his wrath” (RSV, NRSV), “The Lord vented all his fury” (NJPS), “The Lord turned loose the full force of his fury” (TEV). Others miss the mark: “The Lord has accomplished his wrath/fury” (KJV, NKJV, ASV, NASB).

2 tn Heb “the heat of his anger.”

3 tn The term יְסוֹד (yÿsod, “foundation”) refers to the ground-level and below ground-level foundation stones of a city wall (Ps 137:7; Lam 4:11; Mic 1:6).

4 tn Heb “inhabitants of the mainland.”

5 tn Heb “they did not believe that.” The verb הֶאֱמִינוּ (heeminu), Hiphil perfect 3rd person common plural from אָמַן (’aman, “to believe”), ordinarily is a term of faith and trust, but occasionally it functions cognitively: “to think that” (Job 9:16; 15:22; Ps 116:10; Lam 4:12) and “to be convinced that” (Ps 27:13) (HALOT 64 s.v. I אמן hif.1). The semantic relationship between “to believe” = “to think” is metonymical, that is, effect for cause.

6 sn The expression “to enter the gates” of a city is an idiom referring to the military conquest of that city. Ancient Near Eastern fortified cities typically featured double and sometimes triple city gates – the bulwark of the defense of the city. Because fortified cities were enclosed with protective walls, the Achilles tendon of every city was the city gates – the weak point in the defense and the perennial point of attack by enemies (e.g., Judg 5:8, 11; 1 Sam 17:52; Isa 29:6; Jer 17:27; 51:54; Ezek 21:20, 27; Mic 1:9, 12; Neh 1:3; 2:3, 13, 17).

7 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.



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