Lamentations 2:16
All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
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(16) All thine enemies.—The exultation of the enemies is expressed by every feature in the physiognomy of malignant hate, the wide mouth, the hissing, the gnashing of the teeth. They exult, as in half-broken utterances, in the thought that they have brought about the misery at which they mock. It is what they had long looked for; they had at last seen it.

Lamentations 2:16-17. All thine enemies have opened their mouths against thee — As if they were ready to devour thee: see the margin. Or they have opened them in scoffs, reproaches, and insults. They hiss and gnash their teeth — In scorn and derision. They say, We have swallowed her up — Namely, Jerusalem. They triumph in their success against her, and in the rich prey they have got in making themselves masters of her. Certainly, this is the day we have looked for — Which we have expected and longed to see. Thus the enemies of the church are apt to take its disasters for its ruin, and to triumph in them accordingly; but they will find themselves deceived, for the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The Lord hath done that which he had devised — Our destroyers could have had no power against us, unless it had been given them from above: they were but the sword in God’s hand. And he hath not surprised us by these providences: he gave us notice before hand what he would do if we were disobedient, and he hath done no more than what he threatened long since. He hath fulfilled his word which he had commanded — Hath verified and made good his declarations uttered in days of old — Namely, by Moses, Leviticus 26:16-31; Deuteronomy 28:15-49. He hath set up the horn of thine adversaries — Hath advanced their power and glory.

2:10-22 Causes for lamentation are described. Multitudes perished by famine. Even little children were slain by their mother's hands, and eaten, according to the threatening, De 28:53. Multitudes fell by the sword. Their false prophets deceived them. And their neighbours laughed at them. It is a great sin to jest at others' miseries, and adds much affliction to the afflicted. Their enemies triumphed over them. The enemies of the church are apt to take its shocks for its ruins; but they will find themselves deceived. Calls to lamentation are given; and comforts for the cure of these lamentations are sought. Prayer is a salve for every sore, even the sorest; a remedy for every malady, even the most grievous. Our business in prayer is to refer our case to the Lord, and leave it with him. His will be done. Let us fear God, and walk humbly before him, and take heed lest we fall.Seen it - Omit "it." The intensity of the enemy's exultation is shown by the heaping up of unconnected words. We have found what we sought, have seen what we looked for. 16, 17. For the transposition of Hebrew letters (Pe and Ain, La 2:16, 17) in the order of verses, see [1012]Introduction.

opened … mouth—as ravening, roaring wild beasts (Job 16:9, 10; Ps 22:13). Herein Jerusalem was a type of Messiah.

gnash … teeth—in vindictive malice.

we have seen it—(Ps 35:21).


As strangers that had no quarrels with nor prejudices against the Jews, passing by their country, and their great city Jerusalem, despised and scorned it; so their enemies with whom they had former quarrels, and who had taker up prejudices against them, they reproached and abused them, and triumphed in their ruin, and in the success of their arms against them, and blessed themselves, as having now seen the day they had looked and wished for.

All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee,.... Or "widened" (x) them; stretched them out as far as they could, to reproach, blaspheme, and insult; or, like gaping beasts, to swallow up and devour:

they hiss and gnash their teeth; hiss like serpents, and gnash their teeth in wrath and fury; all expressing their extreme hatred and abhorrence of the Jews, and the delight they took in their ruin and destruction:

they say, we have swallowed her up; all her wealth and riches were corns into their hands, and were all their own; as well as they thought these were all their own doings, owing to their wisdom and skill, courage and strength; not seeing and knowing the hand of God in all this. These words seem to be the words of the Chaldeans particularly:

certainly this is the day that we have looked for; we have found, we have seen it: this day of Jerusalem's destruction, which they had long looked for, and earnestly desired; and now it was come; and they had what they so much wished for; and express it with the utmost pleasure. In this verse the order of the alphabet is not observed the letter "pe", being set before the letter "ain", which should be first, according to the constant order of the alphabet; and which was so before the times of Jeremiah, even in David's time, as appears by the ninety ninth Psalm, and others. Grotius thinks it is after the manner of the Chaldeans; but the order of the Hebrew and Chaldee alphabets is the same Dr Lightfoot thinks (y) the prophet, by this charge, hints at the seventy years that Jerusalem should be desolate, which were now begun; the letter "ain", in numbers, denoting seventy. So Mr. Bedford (z), who observes, that the transposition of these letters seems to show the confusion in which the prophet was, when he considered that this captivity should last seventy years. Jarchi (a) says one is put before the other, because they spoke with their mouths what they saw not with their eyes; "pe" signifying the mouth, and "ain" an eye.

(x) "dilatant", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (y) Vol. 1. p. 129. (z) Scripture Chronology, p. 685. (a) E Talmud Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 104. 2.

All thine enemies have opened their mouth against thee: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it.
16. For the inverted order of the initial letters in the Heb. of this and the next v., see Intr., p. 321.

All thine enemies … against thee] almost identical with Lamentations 3:46. Löhr refers for the expression to Psalm 22:13; Psalm 35:21.

gnash the teeth] in fierce hatred. Cp. Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12. For a parallel to the last words of this v., see Psalm 35:21.

Verses 16, 17. - On the transposition of the initial letters in these verses, see Introduction. Verse 16. - Have opened their mouth against thee. As against the innocent sufferer of Psalm 22. (ver. 13). Gnash the teeth. In token of rage, as Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12. We have seen it (comp. Psalm 35:21). Lamentations 2:16The enemy in triumph express their joy over the fall of Jerusalem. The opening of the mouth (as in Psalm 35:21; Job 16:10), taken in connection with what follows, is also a gesture peculiar to scornful speech. The gnashing of the teeth (Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12; Job 16:9) is here an expression of rage that has burst out. The object of "we have swallowed" is to be derived from the context ("against thee"), viz., the city of Jerusalem. Surely this" is a strong asseveration - "this is the very day." The asyndetic collection of the three verbs accords with the impassioned character of the enemy's speech. "To see" is here equivalent to living to see.
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