The LORD was as an enemy: he has swallowed up Israel, he has swallowed up all her palaces: he has destroyed his strong holds…
I. HOW FAR WAS THERE REALITY UNDER THIS APPEARANCE OF ENMITY? God might look like an enemy, but it did not therefore follow that he was one. But even if Jehovah behaved himself like an enemy, it must also be asked whether there was not a necessity that he should do so. If Israel had to say, "Jehovah acts as an enemy towards us," Jehovah had to say, "My people act as an enemy towards me." These people had now for a long time been travelling in the wrong way, and it was in the very nature of things that the more they advanced the morn opposition should multiply and become intensified. God not only appeared to be an enemy, but in certain respects he really was an enemy. He hated the evil that had risen to such a height among those whom he had taken for his own. Our love for evil is ever the measure of his hate of it; and the more determined we are to cling to it, the more his hostility will appear. God himself always keeps in the same path of law and righteousness and order. When we, according to our measure, follow in his footsteps, then real opposition there cannot be; but the moment we think fit to become a law to ourselves and do what is right in our own eyes, then inevitably he must oppose us.
II. THIS ENMITY WAS LARGELY IN APPEARANCE ONLY. When Israel said that Jehovah was as an enemy, they got their idea of enmity from the hostile proceedings of individuals and communities. But God cannot be the enemy of any man as men are enemies one to another. His motives are different and so are the results of all his opposition. One man forming hostile plans against another acts from malicious motives, or at all events from selfish ones. There is no basis of reason in what he does. He is not hostile to the lower in order that he may show himself friendly to the higher. Besides, we must not look merely at outward manifestations of enmity. There may be the deepest enmity and greatest power of inflicting injury where outwardly all looks harmless. Those who profess to be our friends and whom we reckon to be our friends may yet inflict worse injuries than all avowed enemies taken together. God is the true Friend of every man, however he may be thought at times to put on the appearance of an enemy. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: The Lord is become as an enemy, he has swallowed up Israel; He has swallowed up all her palaces, he has destroyed his strongholds; He has multiplied in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.