Chapter 2:1. “How hath the Lord.” Most of chapter 2 depicts God’s Judgement in vivid pictures. God covered the Judeans with a cloud (verse 1), withdrew His hand of protection (verse 3), bent His bow and had slain with His arrows (verse 4), and marked a line to destroy the walls that He designated (verse 8). God will work a rebuilding of Jerusalem in the future kingdom (Zech. 2:1-13). “The beauty of Israel.” Probably refers to Mt. Zion and the temple. “His footstool.” This refers to the ark of the covenant.
vs. 2. “He has thrown down.” God has done away with Judah’s defenses. This is what He told Jeremiah He would do at the beginning of Jeremiah’s ministry (Jer. 1:10).
vs. 3. “All the horn.” An emblem of power, as in animals.
vs. 5. God took full responsibility for what Nebuchadnezzar did. God allowed him to destroy the city of Jerusalem. God used him as a rod, just as He had used the Assyrians against Israel for their punishment.
Have you ever stopped to think in your own personal life why God permits certain people to cross your path? Do you wish that you had never met certain people? Are there people whom you would call your enemies? Someone may have caused you sorrow, but it is all for His purpose. God has permitted all that for a definite purpose. Learn to recognize the hand of God in your life.
vs. 6-11. Tragedy comes to everyone and everything through sin! The account of these verses mention the temple, worship, feasts and the Sabbaths, kings and priests, God’s altar and holy places, city walls, the law, and children and family.
vs. 7. The very temple which God had blessed—He had given the instructions for building it, His very presence had been there at one time—now He says, “The day came that I abhorred that temple.”
Churchgoing folk need to investigate their own lives. If you go to church, is that something that God takes delight in? Or is it actually something that hurts His cause? Is your frame of mind right when you go, or are you critical? Can the Spirit of God use you? I think that it can even be sinful to go to church. Do you know where the most dangerous place was the night Jesus was arrested? Was it down with that bunch of rascals who were plotting His death? No, my friend, the most dangerous place that night was in the Upper Room where Jesus was! Do you know why? Satan was there. He put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Him, and he also got into the heart of Simon Peter to deny Him. Just because you are going to church doesn’t mean you are pleasing God.
vs. 8. The wall is the security and strength for the Jews. A line made like unto building and also destruction, something showing what to cut off.
vs. 9. Being among the Gentiles was miserable for the Jews. The Law was not read, observed or heard of. They had just a few prophets from this time till the time of the gospels.
vs. 10. All the people went through the outward appearance of grief.
vs. 11. Look at what happened to Jeremiah! He cried so much he could not see. His insides were all torn up. It broke his heart.
vs. 12. This is where the children died, in their mother’s arms.
vs. 13. No other people at this time could be compared to what was happening to the Jewish peoples. There was no cure for their affliction. The breach or ruin is like trying to hold the sea back from rushing forward.
vs. 14. Back in Jeremiah chapter 23:16-17, and chapter 23:30-40 describes the lies and visions that the false prophets used to deceive the Jews. All this lying led to destruction.
vs. 15-16. The enemy is delighted with what has happened to the children of God.
vs. 17. God fulfills His Word, God does what He says He will. Those that were gloating should know that God will work His sovereign Will. This verse is the focal point of this chapter.
vs. 18-19. Those on the wall cry out in anguish as the breach was made by the Babylonians.
vs. 20-22. “Behold, O Lord, and consider.” The remaining verses of chapter 2 place the issue before God. Women ate their offspring- hunger became so bad that during the 18 month siege women did the unthinkable. This sort of terrible thing is listed in chapter 4:10, Lev. 26:29, Deut. 28:53, Jer. 19:9.
Chapter 3. Each one of the chapters in this little Book of Lamentations forms an acrostic. That is, there are twenty–two letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and each of the twenty–two verses in each chapter begins with the succeeding letter. However, in this chapter there are sixty–six verses, which means that there are three verses that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
Verses 1-4. Jeremiah has seen and gone through great trouble. His health is wrecked because of his concern for Jerusalem. Jeremiah was not unmoved by the destruction he had seen come to the nation. He did not run around saying, “I told you so!” Actually, he was heartbroken. His response also shows us how God feels. God is not removed; He goes with those who are His own. The Lord Jesus said, “… I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). Whatever we are going through, we can be sure He is there.
Verses 5-8. “He shuts out my prayer.” Look at verse 44 of this chapter, God did not respond because of Jeremiah’s sin, he was not the guilty one, Israel was. Isarel’s continuing sin without repentance. Jeremiah knew this, that God had to do this, punishment for sin, but he still wept, prayed and longed to see the Jews repent.
Verses 9-26. If you were to give a title to these last three chapters of Lamentations, it would be, “When Tomorrows Become Yesterdays.” Jeremiah is now looking back upon the past. He had predicted the judgment that came upon Jerusalem, and Jeremiah sits in the rubble and ruin of Jerusalem weeping as he writes this lamentation.
These verses (21-26) are the only bright spot in all of the five lamentations. “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” In spite of the severe judgment of God—and many thought it was too severe—Jeremiah can see the hand of God’s mercy. They would have been utterly consumed had it not been for the mercy of God. If they had received their just deserts, they would have been utterly destroyed—they would have disappeared from the earth.
Was Judah’s deliverance from such a fate due to something in them? No, it was all due to the faithfulness of God. He had promised Abraham that He would make a nation come from him—and this was the nation. He had promised Moses that He would put them into the land. He had promised Joshua that He would establish them there. He promised David that there would come One in his line to reign on the throne forever. The prophets all said that God would not utterly destroy this people but that He would judge them for their sin. God is faithful. He has judged them, but He will not utterly destroy them. A faithful remnant has always remained, and ultimately they will become a great nation again.
Will God judge America?
Verse 27. “The yoke in his youth.” The prophet is speaking of the duty from God, including disciplinary training, that Jeremiah had received in his youth.
Verse 29. The picture here is of submission.
Verse 30. Is this not what Jesus did?
Verses 31-47. God had a just basis for judgment. In verses 40-41 it says “turn back to the Lord. This is the solution! Repent and look for God to give relief and to restore. Verse 42, they were judged righteously for their sin, by the Lord.
Verses 48-51. “My eyes.” The sum of Jeremiah’s sorrow.
Verses 52-63. This sounds a lot like Jeremiah’s time when his enemies at the palace tossed him into a cistern (vs. 53 and Jer. 38:4-6). In verse 57, God gave him comfort, and redeemed him in verse 58 (Jer. 38: 7-13). Verses 59-63, Jeremiah pleads that justice be delivered on these enemies. “You have redeemed my life.” Jeremiah said this to help all trust in God.
Verses 64-66. This imprecatory prayer (a prayer for evil to fall on a person or in this case, a nation) for divine vengeance would be answered in Babylon’s fall (Isa. 46, 47, Jer. 50,51, Dan. 5). The ultimate answer will be the Great White Throne in Rev. 20:11-15.