Be aware of this situation (Bar 2:16-2:18)

“O Lord!

Look down

From your holy dwelling!

Consider us!

Incline your ear!

O Lord!

Hear!

Open your eyes!

O Lord!

See!

The dead

Who are in Hades,

Whose spirit

Has been taken

From their bodies,

Will not ascribe glory

To the Lord.

They will not ascribe justice

To the Lord.

But the person

Who is deeply grieved,

Who walks bent over

Who is feeble,

Who has failing eyes,

That person

Will declare

Your glory.

They will declare

Your righteousness.

O Lord!”

This prayer of Baruch continues by asking God to look down from his heavenly holy dwelling. He should consider their situation. God should incline his ear and listen. He should open his eyes and see. The dead in Hades or Sheol have no spirit. They cannot give glory or justice to the Lord. On the other hand, those who are still living, but grieving, bent over, and feeble with poor eye sight can still declare the glory and righteousness of the Lord. Thus it is better to be alive and weak than dead.

The false visions of the prophets (Lam 2:14-2:14)

Nun

“Your prophets

Have seen

False visions

For you.

They have seen

Deceptive visions.

They have not exposed

Your iniquity

In order to restore

Your fortunes.

But they have seen

False oracles,

Misleading oracles

For you.”

Now we have an element of guilt. This author blames their situation in Jerusalem on the false and deceptive visions of Yahweh’s prophets. Jeremiah often called them the happy prophets, who saw no harm coming. These prophets never challenged the people and their iniquity. They kept talking about restoration with their false and misleading oracles. It almost seems like this is an attempt to say that the prophets had the wrong visions or oracles from Yahweh, rather than the prophets misunderstood these visions or oracles of Yahweh. 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.

Against the cities of Ammon (Jer 49:2-49:3)

“Says Yahweh.

‘Therefore,

The time is surely coming,

When I will sound

The battle alarm

Against Rabbah

Of the Ammonites.

It shall become

A desolate mound.

Its villages

Shall be burned

With fire.

Then Israel shall dispossess

Those who dispossessed him.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Wail!

O Heshbon!

Ai is laid waste!

Cry out!

O daughters of Rabbah!

Put on sackcloth!

Lament!

Slash yourselves

With whips!

Milcom shall go

Into exile,

With his priests,

With his attendants.’”

Yahweh spoke about the destruction of the major cities in Ammon. Rabbah was the capital city of Ammon that would become a desolate mound with its various villages around it. They would be burned to the ground. Thus the dispossessed Israelites would be able to re-possess it. However, it is not the Israelites who are invading, but the Babylonians. Heshbon was the ancient city of King Sihon that had been captured by the Israelites. It was part of the Reuben territory and then Gad territory, since it was almost on the border between Moab and Ammon. The city of Ai was near Bethel in the Benjamin territory on the west side of the Jordan River. However, here this is another otherwise unknown city named Ai near Heshbon. All of these cities were going to lament their situation with mourning and sack cloth. Their god Milcom with his priests and attendants would also go into exile.

Death in Jerusalem (Isa 3:25-3:26)

“Your men shall fall

By the sword.

Your warriors shall fall

In battle.

Her gates shall lament.

Her gates shall mourn.

Ravaged,

She shall sit

Upon the ground.”

Isaiah warns that death will come to the men of Jerusalem by the sword or in battle. Thus the women who remain will lament and mourn. They will be ravaged, sitting on the ground lamenting their situation.