Luke indicated that Jesus continued with his unique story about the king planning a war. Jesus said that if this king realized that he could not defeat the other king (εἰ δὲ μήγε), then, while this other king was still far away (ἔτι αὐτοῦ πόρρω ὄντος), he would send a delegation (πρεσβείαν ἀποστείλας), asking for peace terms (ἐρωτᾷ τὰ πρὸς εἰρήνην). Make peace instead of war, if you are outmanned and have no realistic hope of success. Would you rather fight or make peace?
Now the author laments about how to compare what has happened in Jerusalem. Is there anything comparable? How can he comfort Zion? This virgin daughter Zion is beyond healing. Her ruin is as vast as the sea. This author of the Lamentations really sounds like a distraught elderly widow who has lost her husband. Perhaps there is an element of exaggeration, as if no other city had ever suffered defeat or ruin. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Mem. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
Once again, Jerusalem spoke in the first person in this personal lament. Jerusalem claimed that her own transgressions were like a yoke around her neck. Yahweh had fashioned this yoke by his hand. He then put this weight on Jerusalem so that her strength was sapped. Finally, Jerusalem was handed over to people that it could not defeat, the Babylonians. This verse starts with the Hebrew consonant letter Nun. Each verse after this will use the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet in this acrostic poem.
Yahweh says that he was going to punish Bel, the god of Mesopotamia. Thus with the defeat of Babylon, the god Bel was also defeated. The punishment was that Bel had to throw up what he had eaten. All those nations where Bel was their god would no longer stream to his temple, because Babylon had fallen.
In this battle with Babylon, the Babylonian archers with their bows and arrows would be useless. Those who put on armored coats of mail would also find little protection. The invaders were to utterly destroy the young men and the army of the Babylonians. They were to defeat the Chaldeans in their own streets, even letting the wounded ones lay there.
Yahweh proclaims that the arrogant Babylonians would suffer defeat, so that their young men would die in their town squares. Their soldiers would be wiped out. Yahweh with all his hosts and armies would be against Babylon. Their time for their punishment was coming. These arrogant Babylonians would stumble and fall, but no one would help them up. Yahweh was going to set them on fire in their cities. Everything would be devoured around them. Bad times were coming to these proud Babylonians.
Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.
The day of reckoning for Yahweh was the defeat of Egypt. Clearly Jeremiah and Yahweh are pro-Babylon and anti-Egypt. This will be a day of retribution and vindication against Yahweh’s foes. The sword will devour them and drink their blood, like a sacrifice in this land north of the Euphrates River. This virgin daughter Egypt would find it useless to seek any medicines to cure her. Not even the balms of Gilead would help Egypt. There will be no healing. Everyone would have heard of their shame and their cries. Their warriors have stumbled against each other as they fell.
Jeremiah told King Zedekiah that Yahweh had sent him a vision of what was going to happen, if he did not surrender to the Babylonians. In this vision, all the women of the household of the king were being brought out to the officials of the Babylonians. These women were saying that their trusted friends had deceived, seduced, and overcome them. Now that their feet were stuck in the mud, as Jeremiah had been in the well, their trusted friends had deserted them. Thus all the Judean wives and children would be were led out to the Chaldeans. The Judean king himself would not escape from the king of Babylon. The city of Jerusalem would be burned with a great fire. This was a grim vision of defeat.
Yahweh reminds Jeremiah that he has had a good life. However, Yahweh has given him enemies, yet he was there in his times of trouble and distress. Then Yahweh returned to the theme of how to defeat the invaders from the north. Would a combination of iron and bronze be enough to break the coming iron from the north? Only time will tell.