Lamentations 2:9
Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
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(9) Her gates . . .—The picture of ruin is completed. The gates are broken, and hidden by heaps of rubbish as if they had been buried in the earth; they cannot be closed, for the bars are gone. King and princes are captives to the Chaldæans. The Law was practically repealed, for the conditions of its observance were absent, and prophecy had become a thing of the past. The outward desolation was but the shadow of that of the nation’s spiritual life.

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.Her gates are sunk into the ground - So completely destroyed, that one might suppose they had been swallowed up in an abyss.

Her king - The prophet's lamentation, occupied before chiefly with the buildings of the city and temple, now turns to the people, beginning with their temporal rulers.

The law is no more - The Jewish Law, the Torah, came to an end when it no longer had a local habitation. Its enactments were essentially those not of a universal religion, but of a national religion, and the restoration of the nation with a material temple was indispensable to its continued existence. It was only when elevated to be a universal religion, by being made spiritual, that it could do without ark, temple, and a separate people.

Her prophets also find ... - With the Torah, the special gift of prophecy also ceased, since both were unique to the theocracy; but it was not until the establishment of Christianity that they were finally merged in higher developments of grace.

9. Her gates cannot oppose the entrance of the foe into the city, for they are sunk under a mass of rubbish and earth.

broken … bars—(Jer 51:30).

her king … among … Gentiles—(De 28:36).

law … no more—(2Ch 15:3). The civil and religious laws were one under the theocracy. "All the legal ordinances (prophetical as well as priestly) of the theocracy, are no more" (Ps 74:9; Eze 7:26).


Her gates are sunk into the ground; that is, the gates of Jerusalem are destroyed and covered over with rubbish.

He hath destroyed and broken her bars; the bolts of the gates are broken.

Her king and her princes are among the Gentiles; Zedekiah and the nobles of Judah that were not slain were in miserable captivity.

The law is no more; the law was no more read and opened, nor was there any more sacrifices offered according to the prescript of it, nor any solemn feasts kept according to the direction of it.

Her prophets also find no vision from the Lord; they had but very few prophets amongst them from this time to the time of the gospel, and very few of those at this time alive had any revelations from God; we read only of this prophet, Ezekiel, Daniel, and three after the captivity, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

Her gates are sunk into the ground,.... Either the gates of the city or temple, or both; being broke and demolished, and laid level with the ground, and covered with rubbish; for as for the Midrash, or exposition, that Jarchi mentions, that the gates sunk into the earth upon the approach of the enemy, that they might not have power over them, through which the ark passed, is a mere fable of their Rabbins; and equally as absurd is the additional gloss of the Targum,

"her gates sunk into the earth, because they sacrificed a hog, and brought of the blood of it to them:''

he hath destroyed and broken her bars; with which the gates were bolted and barred, that so the enemy might enter; it was God that did it, or suffered it to be done, or it would not have been in the power of the enemy:

her king and her princes are among the Gentiles; Zedekiah, and the princes that were not slain by the king of Babylon, were carried captive thither; and there they lived, even among Heathens that knew not God, and despised his worship:

the law is no more; the book of the law was burnt in the temple, and the tables of it carried away with the ark, or destroyed; and though, no doubt, there were copies of the law preserved, yet it was not read nor expounded; nor was worship performed according to the direction of it; nor could it be in a strange land. Mr. Broughton joins this with the preceding clause, as descriptive of the Heathens: "her king and her princes are among Heathen that have no law"; see Romans 2:12;

her prophets also find no vision from the Lord; there was none but Jeremiah left in the land, and none but Ezekiel and Daniel in the captivity; prophets were very rare at this time, as they were afterwards; for we hear of no more after the captivity, till the coming of the Messiah, but Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; so that there was very little open vision; the word of the Lord was precious or scarce; there was a famine of hearing it, 1 Samuel 3:1.

Her gates are sunk into the ground; he hath destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes are among the Gentiles: the law is no more; her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
9. Her gates, etc.] The Targ. preserves a tradition that the enemy slew a pig and sprinkled the blood over them.

destroyed and broken] One of the verbs must be struck out for the sake of metre.

Her king … from the Lord] We should (correcting the Mass. punctuation) read the latter part of the second line as an independent clause, “the law is not.” Three classes are spoken of, all of whom circumstances exclude from their proper functions, (i) the king and princes are in exile, (ii) so are the priests, (iii) the prophets in captivity have no message. Cp. Psalm 74:9, Ezekiel 7:26 f. We must therefore (correcting the Mass. punctuation) read the latter part of the second line, there is no priestly direction. See on Jeremiah 18:18.

Verse 9. - Are sunk into the ground; i.e. are broken down and buried in the dust. The Law is no more. The observance of the Law being rendered impossible by the destruction of the temple. Comp. this and the next clause with Ezekiel 7:26. Lamentations 2:9The lament over the destruction of the kingdom concludes, in Lamentations 2:8, Lamentations 2:9, by mentioning that the walls of Jerusalem are destroyed; with this the Chaldeans ended the work of demolition. The expression חשׁב יהוה represents this as the execution of a divine decree, - a turn which forms an appropriate introduction to the close of the work of destruction. "Raschi makes the following remark concerning this: a longo inde tempore, in animum induxerat, hanc urbem vastare secundum illud quod Jeremiah 32:31 dixit. This intention He has now carried out. The words, "He stretched out the measuring-line," are more exactly determined by what follows, "He withdrew not His hand from destroying;" this shows the extent to which the destruction was carried out. The measuring-line was drawn out for the purpose of determining the situation and direction of buildings (Job 38:5; Zechariah 1:15); but Jahveh applies it also for the purpose of pulling down buildings (2 Kings 21:13; Isaiah 34:11; Amos 7:7), in order to indicate that He carried out the destruction with the same precision as that of the builder in finishing his work. The rampart and the wall sorrow over this. חל (from חוּל) is the rampart, i.e., the low wall with the ditch, surrounding the fortress outside the city wall; cf. 2 Samuel 20:15; Isaiah 26:1. The gates of the daughter of Zion (i.e., of Jerusalem) are sunk into the earth, i.e., have been completely buried under rubbish by the demolition, as if they had sunk into the ground. The subject to אבּד ושׁבּר is Jahveh. The bars of the daughter of Zion are those with which the city gates were closed, for the protection of the inhabitants. With the destruction of Jerusalem the kingdom of God is destroyed. King and princes are among the heathen, - carried away into exile. It must, indeed, be allowed that אין תּורה is connected by the accents with what precedes; and Gerlach defends the construction, "they are among the heathen without law,", - not only agreeing with Kalkschmidt in taking אין תּורה as a designation of the גּוים as ethnici, - -ad gentes, quibus divina nulla erat revelatio, - but also with Luther, who translates: "her king and her princes are among the heathen, because they cannot administer the law," or generally, have it not. But, on the other hand, the accents merely indicate the stichometrical arrangement, not the relation of the words according to their sense; and the remark, "that Lamentations 2:9 sets forth the fate of the persons who stood to the city in the relation of helpers and counsellors or comforters (her king, her prophets), of whose help (counsel, or comfort) the city was deprived, as well as of the external means of defending her" (first member), proves nothing at all, for the simple reason that the priests also belonged to the number of the helpers, counsellors, and comforters of the city; hence, if this were the meaning, and the two halves of the verse were meant to stand in this relation, then the priests would certainly have been mentioned also. The second half of the verse is not connected with the first in the manner supposed by Gerlach; but, from the whole preceding description of the way in which the divine wrath has been manifested against Jerusalem, it draws this conclusion: "Judah has lost its king and its princes, who have been carried away among the heathen: it has also lost the law and prophecy." "Law" and "vision" are mentioned as both media of divine revelation. the law is the summary of the rule of life given by God to His people: this exists no more for Judah, because, with the destruction of Jerusalem and of the temple, the divinely appointed constitution of Israel was abolished and destroyed. Prophecy was the constant witness to the presence of God among His people; by this means the Lord sought to conduct Israel to the object of their election and calling, and to fit them for becoming a holy nation and a kingdom of priests. The perf. מצאוּ is not a preterite, but the expression of an accomplished fact. The prophets of the daughter of Zion no longer obtain any vision or revelation from Jahveh: the revelation of God by prophets has ceased for Zion. The words imply that there are still prophets, and merely affirm that they do not receive any revelation from God. This is not opposed to the fact that Jeremiah, some months after the destruction of Jerusalem, again received a revelation; cf. Jeremiah 42:4 with Lamentations 2:7. The meaning of the complaint is simply that Jahveh no longer owns His people, no longer gives them a token of His gracious presence, just as it is said in Psalm 74:9, "There is no more any prophet." But it is not thereby declared that prophecy has altogether and for ever been silenced, but merely that, when Jerusalem was destroyed, Israel received no prophetic communication, - that God the Lord did not then send them a message to comfort and sustain them. The revelation which Jeremiah (Jeremiah 42:7) received regarding the determination of the people who sought to flee to Egypt, has no connection with this at all, for it does not contain a word as to the future destiny of Jerusalem. Hence it cannot be inferred, with Thenius, from the words now before us, that the present poem was composed before that revelation given in Jeremiah 42:7.; nor yet, with Ngelsbach, that the writer had here before his mind the condition of the great mass of the people who had been carried away into exile. Neither, indeed, were the people in exile without prophetic communications; for, even so early as six years before the overthrow of Jerusalem, God had raised up to the exiles a prophet in the person of Ezekiel.
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