Lamentations 2:1
How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
II.

(1) How hath the Lord . . .—The second dirge follows the pattern of the first, opening with a description of the sufferings of Jerusalem, (Lamentations 2:1-10), and closing with a dramatic soliloquy spoken as by the daughter of Zion (Lamentations 2:11-22).

The image that floats before the poet’s mind is that of a dark thunder-cloud breaking into a tempest, which overthrows the “beauty of Israel,” sc. the Temple (Isaiah 64:11), or, as in 2Samuel 1:19, the heroes who defended it. The footstool is, as in 1Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5, the ark of the covenant, which was involved in the destruction of the Temple. The Lord” is, as before, Adonai, not Jehovah.

Lamentations 2:1. How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud — Changed her condition for the worse, and turned the light of her prosperity into the darkness of adversity. And cast down, &c., the beauty of Israel — The temple and all its glory. And remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger — Hath not spared even the ark itself, the footstool of the shekinah, or divine glory, which was wont to appear, sitting, as it were, enthroned upon the mercy-seat, between the cherubim: see the margin.

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.How ... - Or, "How" doth "אדני 'ădonāy cover." He hath east down etc. By God's footstool seems to be meant the ark. See Psalm 99:5 note. CHAPTER (ELEGY) 2

La 2:1-22.

Aleph.

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.

Beth.Jeremiah lamenteth the misery of Jerusalem, and its causes, and their enemies’ derision, Lamentations 2:1-17. In exhortation to true sorrow and repentance; a fervent prayer, Lamentations 2:18-22.

How hath the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger? It hath been formerly observed that great states and kingdoms are often in Scripture expressed under the notion of daughters, Psalm 137:8 Isaiah 10:30 47:1,5 Jer 46:11 Lamentations 4:21,22: the meaning is, How hath God obscured all the beauty and glory of the church and state of the Jews!

And cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel; that is, thrown them down from the highest pitch of glory and honour, to the meanest degree of baseness and servitude.

And remembered not his footstool in the day of his anger: the earth is called the Lord’s footstool, Isaiah 66:1 Matthew 5:35 Acts 7:49, but here plainly the temple is understood, called God’s footstool, 1 Chronicles 28:2; and the whole temple seems rather to be understood than the ark, for we read of no indignity offered to the ark by the Chaldeans, more than to any other part of the temple; God had suffered the Chaldeans to burn the whole temple, and it may justly be doubted whether those other texts that mention a worshipping at God’s footstool, Psalm 99:5 132:7, be not to be understood of worshipping in the temple, for it was not the privilege of all the Jews to come so near the ark as to worship before that. The reason of the complaint is God’s permission of the Chaldeans to burn the temple. See Jeremiah 52:13.

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.

How hath the Lord {a} covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger, and cast down from {b} heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and remembered not his {c} footstool in the day of his anger!

(a) That is, brought her from prosperity to adversity.

(b) Has given her a most sore fall.

(c) Alluding to the temple, or to the ark of the covenant, which was called the footstool of the Lord, because they would not set their minds so low, but lift up their heart toward the heavens.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. How] See on ch. Lamentations 1:1.

the beauty of Israel] possibly the Temple, as in Isaiah 64:2, or Jerusalem, but more naturally the illustrious ones of the nation (cp. “thy glory” in 2 Samuel 1:19), or even Israel as a whole, once high in the favour of Jehovah.

his footstool] here again the Temple (cp. Ezekiel 43:7 and perhaps Psalm 99:5) may be meant, or the Ark, which is actually called God’s “footstool” in 1 Chronicles 28:2 and probably in Psalm 132:7.

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). Lamentations 2:1Description of the judgment. - Lamentations 2:1. The lamentation opens with signs for the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The first member of the verse contains the general idea that the Lord (אדני, the Lord κατ ̓ ἐξοχὴν, very suitably used instead of יהוה) has, in His wrath, enveloped Jerusalem with clouds. This thought is particularized in the two members that follow, and is referred to the overthrow of Jerusalem and the temple. יעיב, from עוּב (which is ἅπ. λεγ. as a verb, and is probably a denominative from עב, a cloud), signifies to cover or surround with clouds. בּאפּו does not mean "with His wrath" (Ewald, Thenius), but "in His wrath," as is shown by Lamentations 2:3, Lamentations 2:6, Lamentations 2:21, Lamentations 2:22. "The daughter of Zion" here means the city of Jerusalem, which in the second member is called "the glory (or ornament) of Israel," by which we are to understand neither res Judaeorum florentissimae in general (Rosenmller), nor the temple in special, as the "splendid house," Isaiah 64:10 (Michaelis, Vaihinger). Jerusalem is called the glory or ornament of Israel, in the same way as Babylon in Isaiah 64:10 is called "the glory of the splendour of the Chaldeans" (Thenius, Gerlach). In the figurative expression, "He cast down from heaven to earth," we are not to think there is any reference to a thunderbolt which knocks down an object, such as a lofty tower that reaches to heaven (Thenius); "from heaven" implies that what is to be thrown down was in heaven, as has been already remarked by Raschi in his explanation, postquam sustulisset eos (Judaeos) usque ad coelum, eosdem dejecit in terram, where we have merely to substitute "Jerusalem," for eos, which is too vague. Gerlach has rightly remarked that the expression "cast down from heaven" is to be accounted for by the fact that, in the first member of the verse, Jerusalem is compared to a star, in the same way as Babylon is expressly called a tar in Isaiah 14:12; nay, what is more, Jerusalem is here compared to a star that has fallen from heaven; the reference to that passage thus becomes unmistakeable. Moreover, the casting down from heaven means something more than deprivation of the glory that had come on the city in consequence of God's dwelling in the midst of it (Gerlach); it signifies, besides, the destruction of the city, viz., that it would be laid in ashes. In all this, the Lord has not been thinking of, i.e., paid any regard to, His footstool, i.e., the ark of the covenant (1 Chronicles 28:2; Psalm 99:5), - not the temple (Ewald), although we cannot think of the ark without at the same thinking of the temple as the house in which it was kept. The ark, and not the temple, is named, because the temple became a habitation of the Lord, and a place where He revealed Himself, only through the ark of the covenant, with which the Lord had graciously connected His presence among His people. It is further implied, in the fact that God does not think of His footstool, that the ark itself was destroyed along with the temple and the city.
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