2:10 The elders of Daughter Zion
sit 1 on the ground in silence. 2
They have thrown dirt on their heads;
They have dressed in sackcloth. 3
Jerusalem’s young women 4 stare down at the ground. 5
1 tc Consonantal ישׁבו (yshvy) is vocalized by the MT as יֵשְׁבוּ (yeshvu), Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine plural from יָשַׁב (yashav, “to sit”): “they sit on the ground.” However, the ancient versions (Aramaic Targum, Greek Septuagint, Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate) reflect an alternate vocalization tradition of יָשְׁבוּ (yashvu), Qal imperfect 3rd person masculine plural from שׁוּב (shuv, “to return”): “they return to the ground (= the grave).” The parallelism with the following line favors the MT.
2 tn Heb “they sit on the ground, they are silent.” Based on meter, the two verbs יִדְּמוּ…יֵשְׁבוּ (yeshvu…yidÿmu, “they sit…they are silent”) are in the same half of the line. Joined without a ו (vav) conjunction they form a verbal hendiadys. The first functions in its full verbal sense while the second functions adverbially: “they sit in silence.” The verb יִדְּמוּ (yidÿmu) may mean to be silent or to wail.
3 tn Heb “they have girded themselves with sackcloth.”
sn Along with putting dirt on one’s head, wearing sackcloth was a sign of mourning.
4 tn Heb “the virgins of Jerusalem.” The term “virgins” is a metonymy of association, standing for single young women who are not yet married. These single women are in grief because their potential suitors have been killed. The elders, old men, and young women function together as a merism for all of the survivors (F. W. Dobbs-Allsopp, Lamentations [IBC], 92).
5 tn Heb “have bowed down their heads to the ground.”