Lamentations 2:17
The LORD hath done that which he had devised; he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.
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(17) The Lord hath done . . .—The writer points, in opposition to the boasts of the enemies, to the true author of the misery of the people. In that thought, terrible as it might at first seem, there was an element of hope. It was better to fall into the hands of God than into those of men (2Samuel 24:14). The suffering came as a chastisement for past transgressions, and might therefore be mitigated by repentance. The Destroyer was also the Healer, and would answer the prayers of those who called on Him.

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.That which he had devised - Or, what he purposed. Zion's ruin was the fulfillment of God's determination, of which they had been forwarned from the days of old (see the margin reference).

Fulfilled - Or, finished.

17. Lord—Let not the foe exult as if it was their doing. It was "the Lord" who thus fulfilled the threats uttered by His prophets for the guilt of Judea (Le 26:16-25; De 28:36-48, 53; Jer 19:9).


God hath not surprised us by these providences, he gave us notice what he would do, and hath done no more than what he threatened long since, Leviticus 26:16, &c.; Deu 28:15, &c. It is true lie hath severely punished us, so as in his dispensation there appear no prints of pity, he hath set up our enemies, and hath made them to triumph over his people, but in all this he hath but justified his truth, and fulfilled his word.

The Lord hath done that which he had devised,.... It was not so much the Chaldeans that did it, though they ascribed it to themselves; but it was the Lord's doing, and what he had deliberately thought of, purposed and designed within himself; all whose purposes and devices certainly come to pass:

he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old; not only by the mouth of Jeremiah, years ago, or in the times of Isaiah, long before him; but even in the days of Moses; see Leviticus 26:17, &c. Deuteronomy 28:20, &c. So the Targum,

"which he commanded to Moses the prophet from ancient days, that if the children of Israel would not keep the commands of the Lord, he would take vengeance on them:''

he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied; he hath thrown down, or caused to be thrown down, without any pity, the walls of Jerusalem; and not only the houses and palaces in it, but also his own house, the temple:

and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee; giving thorn victory, and putting all into their hands; on which they insulted them, and gloried over them:

he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries; increased their strength and power, their kingdom and authority; and which swelled their pride, and made them more haughty and insolent.

The LORD hath done that which he had devised; he hath fulfilled his word that he had commanded in the days of old: he hath thrown down, and hath not pitied: and he hath caused thine enemy to rejoice over thee, he hath set up the horn of thine adversaries.
17. fulfilled] mg. finished. Cp. the same Heb. verb in Isaiah 10:12 “perform.”

in the days of old] That which had happened was in fulfilment of the warnings of Leviticus 26:14 ff., Deuteronomy 28:15, as well as of the prophets.

He hath exalted the horn of thine adversaries] See on Lamentations 2:3, and cp. 1 Samuel 2:1; 1 Samuel 2:10; also Psalm 89:42.

Verse 17. - His word that he had commanded, etc. "Commanded," i.e. given in charge to. Comp. Zechariah 1:6, My words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets." Zechariah continues, in language which illustrates the foregoing words of this verse, "Did they not take hold of [overtake] your fathers;" where the persons spoken of as "your fathers" are the same as those who are represented by the speaker of the elegy. "In the days of old;" alluding, perhaps, to such passages as Deuteronomy 28:52, etc. The horn of thine adversaries. "Horn" has a twofold meaning - "strength" or "defence" (comp. ver. 3), and "honour" or "dignity" (comp. 1 Samuel 2:1). The figure is too natural to need explanation. Lamentations 2:17In this calamity, which Jahveh has ordained, it is only He who can bring comfort and help; [and this He will do], if earnest and incessant complaint be made to Him regarding the misery. In order to turn the thoughts of the people in this direction, the prophet lays emphasis on the fact that God has now executed this destruction which He has threatened long before, and has prepared for the triumph of the enemy. "Jahveh hath done what He hath purposed," has now performed the word which He has commanded all along from the days of yore. Zechariah (Zechariah 1:6) also lays this truth before the heart of his contemporaries. בּצּע, to cut off, is used metaphorically in the sense of finishing, completing, as in Isaiah 10:12; Zechariah 4:9. To fulfil a word that has been ordered, signifies to execute it. צוּה does not mean to announce, but to command, order; the word has been chosen, not merely with reference to the fact that the threatened rejection of Israel was announced in the law, but also with regard to the circumstance that the threat of punishment for sins is an evidence of the moral government of the world, and the holiness of the Lord and Ruler of the world demands the punishment of every act of rebellion against the government and decrees of God. "The days of old" are the times of Moses; for Jeremiah has before his mind the threatenings of the law, Leviticus 26:23., Deuteronomy 28:15. "Without sparing," as Jeremiah (Jeremiah 4:28) has announced to the people. In the following clause, "He hath made thine enemy rejoice over thee," thoughts are reproduced from Psalm 89:43. To "exalt the horn" means to grant power and victory; cf. 1 Samuel 21:1; Psalm 75:5.
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