1 (א) How has the LORD covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in His anger, and cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel (Probably referring to the Temple [Isa. 64:11], or the heroic defenders of Jerusalem [2 Sam. 1:19]), and remembered not his footstool in the day of His anger!
2 (ב) The LORD has swallowed up (i.e. by an earthquake) all the habitations (= the open villages of the shepherds, in contrast with the strongholds of the next lines) of Jacob, and has not pitied: He has thrown down in his wrath the strong holds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground: He ha polluted the kingdom and the princes thereof.
3 (ג) He has cut off in His fierce anger all the horn (put for the self-protection afforded by it) of Israel: He has drawn back His right hand from before the enemy, and He burned against Jacob like a flaming fire, which devours round about.
4 (ד) He has bent His bow like an enemy: He stood with His right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye: in the tent of the daughter of Zion He poured out His fury like fire.
5 (ה) The LORD was as an enemy: He has swallowed up Israel, He has swallowed up all His palaces: He has destroyed His strong holds, and has increased in the daughter of Judah mourning and lamentation.
6 (ו) And He has violently taken away His dwelling (or pavilion), as if it were of a garden (or, as [both in] a garden [is destroyed]): He has destroyed His places of the assembly: the LORD has caused the appointed feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and has despised in the indignation of His anger the king and the priest.
7 (ז) The LORD has cast off His altar, He has abhorred His sanctuary, He has given up into the hand of the enemy the walls of her palaces; they have made a noise in the house of the LORD, as in the day of an appointed feast. (I. e. the enemies religion.)
8 (ח) The LORD has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: He has stretched out a line, He has not withdrawn His hand from swallowing up: therefore He made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.
9 (ט) Her gates are sunk into the earth; He has destroyed and broken her bars: her king and her princes (Satan and the Kenites) are among the nations (cp. Deut. 28:36): the law is no more (words of God not there, i.e. is no longer known and obeyed. Cp. Neh. 13:1, and Esdras 14:20,21); her prophets also find no vision from the LORD.
10 (י) The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground, and keep silence: they have cast up dust upon their heads; they have girded themselves with sackcloth (the outward symbol of mourning): the virgins of Jerusalem hang down their heads to the ground.
11 (כ) My eyes do fail with tears, my bowels are moved (or in ferment), my liver (fig. for the seat of emotions. Cp. Job 16:13) is poured upon the earth, for the destruction of the daughter of my People; because the babes and the sucklings swoon in the streets of the city.
12 (ל) They say to their mothers, "Where is corn and wine?" when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city, when their soul was poured out into their mothers' bosom.
13 (מ) What thing shall I take to witness for you? what thing shall I liken to you, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to you, that I may comfort you, O virgin daughter of Zion? for your breach is great like the sea: who can heal you?
14 (נ) Your prophets have seen vain and foolish things for you (cp. Ezek. 12:34; 13:1-16,23; 21:29; 22:28): and they have not discovered your iniquity, cause your captives to return (see Deut. 30:3); but have seen for you false oracles and causes of banishment. (Heb. = expulsions, which is put for the effect of listening to those who brought about the expulsion [Jer. 2;8; 5:31; 14:14; 23:16])
15 (ס) All that pass by the way clap their hands at you; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, "Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?"
16 (פ) All your enemies have opened their mouth against you: they hiss and gnash the teeth: they say, "We have swallowed her up: certainly this is the day that we looked for; we have found, we have seen it." (In v.16 we learn what the enemy thought and said; but, as the Ayin (ע) really precedes the Pe (פ), so we are reminded that this was owing to Yehovah's purpose which had been revealed centuries before. See v.17.)
17 (ע) The LORD has done that which He had devised (cp. Lev. 16,17. Deut. 28:15); He has fulfilled His word that He had commanded in the days of old: He has thrown down, and has not pitied: and He has caused your enemy to rejoice over you, He has set up the horn of your adversaries.
18 (צ) Their heart cried [distressfully] to the LORD, O wall of the daughter of Zion, let tears run down like a river day and night: give yourself no rest; let not the apple of your eye cease.
19 (ק) Arise, cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out your heart like water before the face of the LORD: lift up your hands toward him for the soul of your young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.
20 (ר) Behold, O LORD, and consider: to whom You hast done this? (cp. Lev. 26:29. Deut. 28:53) Shall the women eat their fruit, and children of a span long? shall the priest and the prophet be slain in the sanctuary of the Lord?
21 (ש) The young and the old lie on the ground in the streets: my virgins and my young men are fallen by the sword; You have slain them in the day of Your anger; You have killed, and not pitied.
22 (ת) You have called as in a day of assembly my terrors round about (cp. Jer. 6:25; 20:3,10; 46:5; 49:29), so that in the day of the LORD'S anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up has my enemy consumed.