|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-9 A sad representation is here made of the state of God's church, of Jacob and Israel; but the notice seems mostly to refer to the hand of the Lord in their calamities. Yet God is not an enemy to his people, when he is angry with them and corrects them. And gates and bars stand in no stead when God withdraws his protection. It is just with God to cast down those by judgments, who debase themselves by sin; and to deprive those of the benefit and comfort of sabbaths and ordinances, who have not duly valued nor observed them. What should they do with Bibles, who make no improvement of them? Those who misuse God's prophets, justly lose them. It becomes necessary, though painful, to turn the thoughts of the afflicted to the hand of God lifted up against them, and to their sins as the source of their miseries.
Verse 1. - Hath the Lord covered; rather, doth... cover. The daughter of Zion; i.e. Jerusalem. Cast down from heaven. Here and in Matthew 11:28 we have a parallel to Isaiah 14:12, where the King of Babylon is compared to a bright star. "Cast down" whither? Into the "pit" or dungeon of Hades (Isaiah 14:15). The beauty of Israel; i.e. Jerusalem, exactly as Babylon is called "the proud beauty [or, 'ornament'] of Chaldea" (Isaiah 13:19). His footstool; i.e. the ark (Psalm 132:7), or perhaps the temple as containing the ark (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger,.... Not their persons for protection, as he did the Israelites at the Red sea, and in the wilderness; nor their sins, which he blots out as a thick cloud; or with such an one as he filled the tabernacle and temple with when dedicated; for this was "in his anger", in the day of his anger, against Jerusalem; but with the thick and black clouds of calamity and distress; he "beclouded" (r) her, as it may be rendered, and is by Broughton; he drew a veil, or caused a cloud to come over all her brightness and glory, and surrounded her with darkness, that her light and splendour might not be seen. Aben Ezra interprets it, "he lifted her up to the clouds": that is, in order to cast her down with the greater force, as follows:
and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel; all its glory, both in church and state; this was brought down from the highest pitch of its excellency and dignity, to the lowest degree of infamy and reproach; particularly this was true of the temple, and service of God in it, which was the beauty and glory of the nation, but now utterly demolished:
and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger; to spare and preserve that; meaning either the house of the sanctuary, the temple itself, as the Targum and Jarchi; or rather the ark with the mercy seat, on which the Shechinah or divine Majesty set his feet, when sitting between the cherubim; and is so called, 1 Chronicles 28:2.
(r) "obnubilavit", Montanus, Vatablus; "obnubilat", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
CHAPTER (ELEGY) 2
1. How—The title of the collection repeated here, and in La 4:1.
covered … with a cloud—that is, with the darkness of ignominy.
cast down from heaven unto … earth—(Mt 11:23); dashed down from the highest prosperity to the lowest misery.
beauty of Israel—the beautiful temple (Ps 29:2; 74:7; 96:9, Margin; Isa 60:7; 64:11).
his footstool—the ark (compare 1Ch 28:2, with Ps 99:5; 132:7). They once had gloried more in the ark than in the God whose symbol it was; they now feel it was but His "footstool," yet that it had been a great glory to them that God deigned to use it as such.
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