Lamentations 2:8
The LORD has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he has stretched out a line, he has not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
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(8) He hath stretched out a line.—The phrase implies (See Notes on 2Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:11; Amos 7:7) the systematic thoroughness of the work of destruction.

He made the rampart.—Even the very stones of the walls of Zion are thought of as “crying out” and wailing over their own downfall. (Comp. Habakkuk 2:11; Luke 19:40.)

Lamentations 2:8-9. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of Zion — The word wall is here to be taken in a metaphorical sense, for the strength and security of the city. He hath stretched out a line, &c. — Called emphatically, Isaiah 34:11, קו תהו, the line of confusion or devastation, being designed to mark out the extent of what was to be pulled down. For the instruments designed for building are in some places applied to destroying, because men sometimes mark out those buildings they intend to demolish. Thus, 2 Kings 21:13, God says, I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: see likewise Amos 7:7-8. Therefore he made the rampart, &c., to lament — Made their walls and ramparts feeble, ready to shake like a man under some languishing distemper, who had no strength left. Her gates are sunk into the ground, &c. — The gates of Jerusalem are destroyed and covered over with rubbish, and the bolts of the gates are broken. Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles — Zedekiah and the nobles of Judah, who were not slain, are in a state of miserable captivity. The law is no more — It is no longer read and expounded; the priests and the Levites, whose office it is to instruct the people, being dispersed among the heathen; and that part of the law which respects the public worship of God, being rendered impracticable by the temple’s being destroyed. Her prophets also find no vision from the Lord — The prophets are either dead, or in a state of captivity, and these latter are not favoured with divine revelations as they were wont to be, and so cannot resolve the doubts of those who come to them for advice.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.A line - Compare Isaiah 34:11. The destruction is systematic and thorough. 8. stretched … a line—The Easterns used a measuring-line not merely in building, but in destroying edifices (2Ki 21:13; Isa 34:11); implying here the unsparing rigidness with which He would exact punishment.


The term

wall in this verse seemeth to be taken in a metaphorical sense, for the strength and security of the Jews (the strength and security of a place lying much in ifs walls).

He hath stretched out a line: artificers use with lines not only to mark out places for building, but also for destruction, to direct them what to cut off; such a line is here meant.

He hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying; God had gone on in destroying them: and had made their walls and ramparts feeble, and to shake like a man under some languishing distemper, that had no strength left. The Lord hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion,.... Either the wall of the city, as Aben Ezra; or the wall that encompassed the temple, and all the outward courts of it, as Dr. Lightfoot (s) thinks; this the Lord had determined to destroy, and according to his purposes did destroy it, or suffer it to be demolished; and so all were laid open for the enemy to enter:

he hath stretched out a line; a line of destruction, to mark out how far the destruction should go, and bow much should be laid in ruins; all being as exactly done, according to the purpose and counsel of God, as if it was done by line and rule; see Isaiah 34:11;

he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying; till he made a full end of the city and temple, as he first designed:

therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament: the "chel" and the wall; all that space between the courts of the temple and the wall that surrounded it was called the "chel"; and so the Targum, the circumference or enclosure; and these were laid waste together, and so said to lament: according to others they were two walls, a wall the son of a wall, as Jarchi interprets it; an outward and an inward wall, one higher than another; a low wall over against a high wall; which was as a rampart or bulwark, for the strength and support of it:

they languished together; or fell together, as persons in a fit faint away and full to the ground.

(s) Prospect of the Temple, c. 17. p. 1089.

The LORD hath purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart {h} and the wall to lament; they languished together.

(h) This is a figurative speech as that was, when he said the ways lamented, La 1:4 meaning that this sorrow was so great that the insensible things had their part of it.

8. stretched out the line] i.e. marked for destruction. Cp. 2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:2; Amos 7:7 ff.

destroying] lit. as mg. swallowing up.

they languish together] For the personification of rampart and wall cp. Lamentations 2:18 and Jeremiah 14:2.

8, 9. The walls were broken down and the gates removed (2 Kings 25:10; Jeremiah 52:14) to preclude rebellion. Cp. Ezra 4:12 ff.Verse 8. - He hath stretched out a line. It is the "line of desolation" mentioned in Isaiah (Isaiah 34:11; comp. Amos 7:7; 2 Kings 21:13). Such is the unsparing rigour of Jehovah's judgments. The Lord has destroyed not merely Jerusalem, but the whole kingdom. בּלּע, "to swallow up," involves the idea of utter annihilation, the fury of destruction, just in the same way as it viz. the fury is peculiar to עברה, the overflowing of anger. "He hath not spared" forms an adverbial limitation of the previous statement, "unsparingly." The Qeri ולא, instead of לא, is an unnecessary and unpoetic emendation. כּל־נאות, all the pastures of Jacob. According to its etymology, נוה means a place where shepherds or nomads rest, or stay, or live; here, it is not to be understood specially of the dwellings as contrasted with, or distinguished from the pasture-grounds, but denotes, in contrast with the fortresses (מבצרים), the open, unfortified places of the country in which men and cattle enjoy food and rest. "The strongholds of the daughter of Judah" are not merely the fortifications of Jerusalem, but the fortresses generally of the country and kingdom of Judah; cf. Jeremiah 5:17; Jeremiah 34:7. הגּיע לארץ, "to cast down to the ground" (used of the pulling down of walls, cf. Isaiah 25:12), is an epexegesis of חרס, as in Exodus 13:14, and is not to be joined (in opposition to the accents) with what succeeds, and taken figuratively. For neither does חלּל need any strengthening, nor does הגּיע לארץ suitably apply to the kingdom and its princes. The desecration of the kingdom consisted in its being dishonoured by the disgraceful conduct of its rulers; cf. Psalm 89:40.
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