Lamentations 2:5
The Lord was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
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(5) Her palaces: . . . his strong holds . . .—The change of gender is remarkable, probably rising from the fact that the writer thought of the “palaces” in connection with the “daughters of Zion,” and of the “strong holds” in connection with the land or people. A like combination is found in Hosea 8:14.

Mourning and lamentation.—The two Hebrew nouns are formed from the same root, and have an assonance like “the sorrow and sighing” of Isaiah 35:10.

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.Literally, אדני 'ădonāy has become "as an enemy." 5. an enemy—(Jer 30:14).

mourning and lamentation—There is a play of similar sounds in the original, "sorrow and sadness," to heighten the effect (Job 30:3, Hebrew; Eze 35:3, Margin).


See Lamentations 2:2. Several pathetical expressions signifying the same things, properly imitating the dialect of mourners, whose passion suffers them not to speak according to art, but frequently they say the same things over and over.

The Lord was as an enemy,.... Who formerly was on their side, their God and guardian, their protector and deliverer, but now against them; and a terrible thing it is to have God for an enemy, or even to be as one; this is repeated, as being exceeding distressing, and even intolerable. Mr. Broughton renders it, "the Lord is become a very enemy"; taking "caph" for a note of reality, and not of similitude;

he hath swallowed up Israel; the ten tribes, or the Jewish nation in general; as a lion, or any other savage beast, swallows its prey, and makes nothing of it, and leaves none behind:

he hath swallowed up all her palaces: the palaces of Zion or Jerusalem; the palaces of the king, princes, nobles, and great men; as an earthquake or inundation swallows up whole streets and cities at once; See Gill on Lamentations 2:2;

he hath destroyed his strong holds: the fortified places of the land of Israel, the towers and castles:

and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation; exceeding great lamentation, for the destruction of its cities, towns, villages, and the inhabitants of them.

The LORD was as an enemy: he hath swallowed up Israel, he hath swallowed up all her palaces: he hath destroyed his strong holds, and hath increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
5. her palaces … his strong holds] In “her” Jeremiah was thinking of the city, in “his” of the people at large; hence the change in the gender of the pronouns.

mourning and lamentation] groaning and moaning, or better (as Cheyne) moaning and bemoaning. The original words are substantives from the same root, and occur again (there also in combination) only in Isaiah 29:2.

Verse 5. - Was as an enemy: he hath swallowed, etc. The threefold division of the verse is, unfortunately, concealed in the Authorized Version, owing to the arbitrary stopping. The grouping suggested by the Massoretic text is -

"The Lord is become an enemy, he hath swallowed up Israel;
He hath swallowed up all her palaces, he hath destroyed all his strongholds;
And hath increased in the daughter of Judah moaning and bemoaning."
The change of gender in the second line is easily explicable. In the first case the poet is thinking of the city; in the second, of the people of Israel. The rendering "moaning and bemoaning" is designed to reproduce, to some extent, the Hebrew phrase, in which two words, derived from the same root, and almost exactly the same, are placed side by side, to give a more intense expression to the idea. Lamentations 2:5The Lord has become like an enemy. כּאויב is not separated from היה by the accents (Pesik and Mahpak before, and Kadma after); so that there appears to be nothing to justify the remark of Gerlach, that, "as if the prophet were hesitating whether he should state explicitly that the Lord had become an enemy, he breaks off the sentence he had begun, 'The Lord hath become...,' and continues, 'He hath destroyed like a mighty one.' " As to בּלּע, cf. Lamentations 2:2. "Israel" is the name of Judah viewed as the covenant people. The swallowing or destruction of Israel is explained in the clauses which follow as a destruction of the palaces and fortresses. The mention of the palaces points to the destruction of Jerusalem, while the "fortresses" similarly indicate the destruction of the strong cities in the country. The interchange of the suffixes ־יה and ־יו is accounted for on the ground that, when the writer was thinking of the citadels, the city hovered before his mind; and when he regarded the fortresses, the people of Israel similarly presented themselves. The same interchange is found in Hosea 8:14; the assumption of a textual error, therefore, together with the conjectures based on that assumption, is shown to be untenable. On the expression, "He hath destroyed his strongholds," cf. Jeremiah 47:1-7 :18; on תּאניּה ואניּה, Isaiah 29:2 : in this latter case, two word-forms derived from the same stem are combined for the sake of emphasis. "Daughter of Judah," as in Lamentations 2:2, cf. Lamentations 1:15.
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