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Lamentations 2:1-3 New English Translation (NET Bible)

א (Alef)

The Prophet Speaks

Alas![a] The Lord[b] has covered
Daughter Zion[c] with his anger.[d]
He has thrown down the splendor of Israel
from heaven to earth;
he did not protect[e] his temple[f]
when he displayed his anger.[g]

ב (Bet)

The Lord[h] destroyed[i] mercilessly[j]
all the homes of Jacob’s descendants.[k]
In his anger he tore down
the fortified cities[l] of Daughter Judah.
He knocked to the ground and humiliated
the kingdom and its rulers.[m]

ג (Gimel)

In fierce anger[n] he destroyed[o]
the whole army[p] of Israel.
He withdrew his right hand[q]
as the enemy attacked.[r]
He was like a raging fire in the land of Jacob;[s]
it consumed everything around it.[t]


  1. Lamentations 2:1 tn See the note at 1:1.
  2. Lamentations 2:1 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.
  3. Lamentations 2:1 sn Chapter 2 continues the use of feminine epithets (e.g., “Daughter Zion”) despite initially portraying Jerusalem as an object destroyed by the angered enemy, God.
  4. Lamentations 2:1 tn The verb יָעִיב (yaʿiv) is a hapax legomenon (a term that appears only once in the Hebrew OT). Most lexicons take it as a denominative verb from the noun עָב (ʿov, “cloud,” HALOT 773 s.v. II עָב; BDB 728 s.v. עוּב): Hiphil imperfect third person masculine singular from עוֹב (’ov), meaning “cover with a cloud, make dark” (HALOT 794 s.v. עוב) or “becloud” (BDB 728 s.v.): “the Lord has covered Daughter Zion with the cloud of His anger.” This approach is followed by many English versions (KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV). However, a few scholars relate it to a cognate Arabic verb denoting “blame, revile” (Ehrlich, Rudolph, Hillers): “the Lord has shamed Daughter Zion in His anger.” Several English versions adopt this (NRSV, NJPS, CEV). The picture of cloud and wrath concurs with the stanza’s connection to “day of the Lord” imagery.
  5. Lamentations 2:1 tn The common gloss for זָכַר (zakhar) is “remember.” זָכַר (zakhar) entails “bearing something in mind” in a broader sense than the English gloss “remember.” When God “bears someone in mind,” the consequences are beneficial for them. The implication of not regarding his footstool is to not esteem and so not care for or protect it.
  6. Lamentations 2:1 tn Heb “the footstool of His feet.” The noun הֲדֹם (hadom, “footstool”), always joined with רַגְלַיִם (raglayim, “feet”), is used figuratively in reference to the dwelling place of God (BDB 213 s.v. הֲדֹם), either of the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem (Isa 60:13; Lam 2:1) or of the ark as the place above which the Lord is enthroned (Pss 99:5; 132:7; 1 Chr 28:2). Once it refers to God’s enemies (Ps 110:1).
  7. Lamentations 2:1 tn Heb “in the day of His anger.” As a temporal reference this phrase means “when he displayed his anger.” The Hebrew term “day,” associated with the “day of the Lord” or “day of his wrath,” also functions as a title in a technical sense.
  8. Lamentations 2:2 tc The MT reads אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay, “the Lord”) here rather than יהוה (YHWH, “the Lord”). See the tc note at 1:14.
  9. Lamentations 2:2 tn Heb “has swallowed up.”
  10. Lamentations 2:2 tc The Kethib is written לֹא חָמַל (loʾ khamal, “without mercy”), while the Qere reads וְלֹא חָמַל (veloʾ khamal, “and he has shown no mercy”). The Kethib is followed by the LXX, while the Qere is reflected in many Hebrew mss and the ancient versions (Syriac Peshitta, Aramaic Targum, Latin Vulgate). The English versions are split between the Kethib (“The Lord swallowed all the dwellings of Jacob without mercy”; cf. RSV, NRSV, NIV, TEV, NJPS) and the Qere (“The Lord swallowed all the dwellings of Jacob and has shown no mercy”; cf. KJV, NASB, CEV). As these words occur between a verb and its object (חָמַל [khamal] is not otherwise followed by אֵת [ʾet, direct object marker]), an adverbial reading is the most natural, although interrupting the sentence with an insertion is possible. Cf. 2:17, 21; 3:43. In contexts of harming, to show mercy often means to spare from harm.
  11. Lamentations 2:2 tn Heb “all the dwellings of Jacob.”
  12. Lamentations 2:2 tn Heb “the strongholds.”
  13. Lamentations 2:2 tn Heb “He brought down to the ground in disgrace the kingdom and its princes.” The verbs חִלֵּלהִגִּיע (higgiʿkhillel, “he has brought down…he has profaned”) function as a verbal hendiadys, as the absence of the conjunction ו (vav) suggests. The first verb retains its full verbal force, while the second functions adverbially: “he has brought down [direct object] in disgrace.”
  14. Lamentations 2:3 tc The MT reads אַף (ʾaf, “anger”), while the ancient versions (LXX, Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate) reflect אַפּוֹ (ʾappo, “His anger”). The MT is the more difficult reading syntactically, while the ancient versions are probably smoothing out the text.
  15. Lamentations 2:3 tn Heb “cut off, scattered.”
  16. Lamentations 2:3 tn Heb “every horn of Israel.” The term “horn” (קֶרֶן, qeren) normally refers to the horn of a bull, one of the most powerful animals in ancient Israel. This term is often used figuratively as a symbol of strength, usually in reference to the military might of an army (Deut 33:17; 1 Sam 2:1, 10; 2 Sam 22:3; Pss 18:3; 75:11; 89:18, 25; 92:11; 112:9; 1 Chr 25:5; Jer 48:25; Lam 2:3, 17; Ezek 29:21) (BDB 901 s.v. 2), just as warriors are sometimes figuratively described as “bulls.” Cutting off the “horn” is a figurative expression for destroying warriors (Jer 48:25; Ps 75:10 [11 HT]).
  17. Lamentations 2:3 tn Heb “he caused his right hand to turn back.” The implication in such contexts is that the Lord’s right hand protects his city. This image of the right hand is consciously reversed in 2:4.
  18. Lamentations 2:3 tn Heb “from the presence of the enemy.” This figurative expression refers to the approach of the attacking army.
  19. Lamentations 2:3 tn Heb “he burned in Jacob like a flaming fire.”
  20. Lamentations 2:3 tn Or “He burned against Jacob as a raging fire consumes all around.”
New English Translation (NET)

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