Distress of the Siege Described
4 How dark and dim the gold has become,
How the pure gold has changed!
The sacred stones [of the temple] are poured out and scattered
At the head of every street.
The [noble and] precious sons of Zion,
[Once] worth their weight in fine gold,
How they are regarded [merely] as earthen jars,
The work of a potter’s hands!(A)
Even the jackals offer the breast,
They nurse their young;
But the daughter of my people has become cruel
Like ostriches in the wilderness [that desert their young].
The tongue of the infant clings
To the roof of its mouth because of thirst;
The little ones ask for food,
But no one gives it to them.
Those who feasted on delicacies
Are perishing in the streets;
Those reared in purple [as nobles]
Embrace ash heaps.
For the [punishment of the] wickedness of the daughter of my people [Jerusalem]
Is greater than the [punishment for the] sin of Sodom,
Which was overthrown in a moment,
And no hands were turned toward her [to offer help].(B)
Her princes were purer than snow,
They were whiter than milk [in appearance];
They were more ruddy in body than rubies,
Their polishing was like lapis lazuli (sapphire).
Their appearance is [now] blacker than soot [because of the prolonged famine];
They are not recognized in the streets;
Their skin clings to their bones;
It is withered, and it has become [dry] like wood.
Those killed with the sword
Are more fortunate than those killed with hunger;
For the hungry pine and ebb away,
For the lack of the fruits of the field.
The hands of compassionate women
Boiled their own children;
They became food for them
Because of the destruction of the daughter of my people [Judah].
The Lord has fulfilled His wrath;
He has poured out His fierce anger
And has kindled a fire in Zion
That has consumed her foundations.
The kings of the earth did not believe,
Nor did any of the inhabitants of the earth,
That the adversary (oppressor) and enemy
Could enter the gates of Jerusalem.
Because of the sins of her [counterfeit] prophets
And the wickedness of her [unfaithful] priests,
Who have shed in her midst
The blood of the just and righteous;
They wandered, blind, in the streets;
They were defiled with blood
So that no one could touch their garments.
People cried to them, “Go away! Unclean!
Depart! Depart! Do not touch!”
So they fled, then they wandered [as fugitives];
People among the nations said,
“They shall not stay here any longer with us.”
The presence of the Lord scattered them [among the nations];
He will not continue to look after them.
They did not honor the priests;
They did not favor the elders.
[And as for us,] yet our eyes failed,
Looking in vain for help.
Watching [from the towers] we watched
For a nation that could not save.(C)
The enemy hunted our steps,
So that we could not walk in our streets;
Our end drew near,
Our days were finished
For our end had come.
Our pursuers were swifter
Than the eagles of the sky;
They pursued us on the mountains,
They waited in ambush for us in the wilderness.
The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord [our king],
Was captured in their snares,
He of whom we had said, “Under his shadow
We shall live among the nations.”
Rejoice and be glad, O Daughter of Edom,
Who lives in the land of Uz.
But the cup [of the wine of God’s wrath] will pass to you as well;
You will become drunk and make yourself naked.(D)
The punishment of your sin has been completed, O Daughter of Zion;
The Lord will no longer send you into exile.
But He will punish your sin, O Daughter of Edom;
He will expose your sins.(E)
A Prayer for Mercy
5 O Lord, remember what has come upon us;
Look, and see our reproach (national disgrace)!
Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
Our houses to foreigners.
We have become orphans without a father;
Our mothers are like widows.
We have to pay for our drinking water;
Our wood comes to us at a price.
Our pursuers are at our necks;
We are worn out, there is no rest for us.
We have given the hand [as a pledge of fidelity and submission] to Egypt and Assyria to get enough bread.
Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
It is [a]we who have carried their sin.(F)
Servants rule over us;
There is no one to rescue us out of their hand.(G)
We get our bread at the risk of our lives
Because of the sword [of the Arabs] in the wilderness [who may attack if we go out to harvest the crop].
Our skin is as hot as [the heat of] an oven
Because of the burning heat of [the fever of] famine.
They ravished the women in Zion,
The virgins in the cities of Judah.
Princes were hung by their hands;
Elders were not respected.
Young men worked at the grinding mill,
And boys fell [staggering] under loads of wood.
Elders are gone from the gate;
Young men from their music.
The joy of our hearts has ended;
Our dancing has been turned into mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head [our honor is covered with dust]!
Woe to us, for we have sinned!
Because of this our heart is faint,
Because of these things our eyes are dim.
As for Mount Zion, which lies desolate,
Foxes and the jackals prowl over it.
But You, O Lord, reign forever;
Your throne endures from generation to [all] generations.
Why do You forget us forever?
Why do You forsake us so long?
Return us to You, O Lord, so that we may be restored;
Renew our days as of old,
Unless You have utterly rejected us
And are exceedingly angry with us.
- Lamentations 5:7 Both forefathers and sons were responsible for the disaster that had come on Jerusalem. This generation was equally deserving of punishment.
2 [a]For this reason [that is, because of God’s final revelation in His Son Jesus and because of Jesus’ superiority to the angels] we must pay much closer attention than ever to the things that we have heard, so that we do not [in any way] drift away from truth. 2 For if the message given [b]through angels [the Law given to Moses] was authentic and unalterable, and every violation and disobedient act received an appropriate penalty, 3 how will we escape [the penalty] if we ignore such a great salvation [the gospel, the new covenant]? For it was spoken at first by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us and proved authentic by those who personally heard [Him speak], 4 [and besides this evidence] God also testifying with them [confirming the message of salvation], both by signs and wonders and by various miracles [carried out by Jesus and the apostles] and by [granting to believers the] gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.
Earth Subject to Man
5 It was not to angels that God subjected the [inhabited] world of the future [when Christ reigns], about which we are speaking. 6 But one has [solemnly] testified somewhere [in Scripture], saying,
“What is man, that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man, that You graciously care for him?
“You have made him for a little while lower [in status] than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
[c]And set him over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things in subjection under his feet [confirming his supremacy].”
Now in putting all things in subjection to man, He left nothing outside his control. But at present we do not yet see all things subjected to him.(A)
Jesus Briefly Humbled
9 But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while [by taking on the limitations of humanity], crowned with glory and honor because of His suffering of death, so that by the grace of God [extended to sinners] He might experience death for [the sins of] everyone.
10 For it was fitting for God [that is, an act worthy of His divine nature] that He, for whose sake are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the [d]author and founder of their salvation perfect through suffering [bringing to maturity the human experience necessary for Him to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest]. 11 Both Jesus who sanctifies and those who are sanctified [that is, spiritually transformed, made holy, and set apart for God’s purpose] are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them [e]brothers and sisters, 12 saying,
“I will declare Your (the Father’s) name to My brethren (believers),
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”(B)
13 And again [[f]He says],
“My trust and confident hope will be placed in Him.”
“Here I am, I and the children whom God has given Me.”(C)
14 Therefore, since [these His] children share in flesh and blood [the physical nature of mankind], He Himself in a similar manner also shared in the same [physical nature, but without sin], so that through [experiencing] death He might make powerless (ineffective, impotent) him who had the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and [that He] might free all those who through [the haunting] fear of death were held in slavery throughout their lives. 16 For, as we all know, He (Christ) does not take hold of [the fallen] angels [to give them a helping hand], but He does take hold of [the fallen] descendants of Abraham [extending to them His hand of deliverance].(D) 17 Therefore, it was essential that He had to be made like His brothers (mankind) in every respect, so that He might [by experience] become a merciful and faithful High Priest in things related to God, to make atonement (propitiation) for the people’s sins [thereby wiping away the sin, satisfying divine justice, and providing a way of reconciliation between God and mankind]. 18 Because He Himself [in His humanity] has suffered in being tempted, He is able to help and provide immediate assistance to those who are being tempted and exposed to suffering.
- Hebrews 2:1 This refers back to all of ch 1, not just the final verse.
- Hebrews 2:2 It was a tradition in Judaism that angels, whom the Jews highly regarded, had an important role in God’s giving of the Law to Moses. See Acts 7:38; Gal 3:19.
- Hebrews 2:7 Two early mss do not contain “And...hands.”
- Hebrews 2:10 Or pioneer, originator, champion.
- Hebrews 2:11 Lit brethren.
- Hebrews 2:13 By placing these two OT quotations on the lips of Jesus the author illustrates: 1) his high view of Scripture, and 2) that he views even written Scripture as the words of Jesus.
Praise for the Lord’s Mercies.
A Psalm of David.
103 Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is [deep] within me, bless His holy name.
Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul,
And do not forget any of His benefits;
Who forgives all your sins,
Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you [lavishly] with lovingkindness and tender mercy;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the [soaring] eagle.(A)
The Lord executes righteousness
And justice for all the oppressed.
He made known His ways [of righteousness and justice] to Moses,
His acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in compassion and lovingkindness.(B)
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins [as we deserve],
Nor rewarded us [with punishment] according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear and worship Him [with awe-filled respect and deepest reverence].
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father loves his children,
So the Lord loves those who fear and worship Him [with awe-filled respect and deepest reverence].
For He knows our [mortal] frame;
He remembers that we are [merely] dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
Like a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it and it is no more,
And its place knows it no longer.
But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [reverently] fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children,(C)
To those who honor and keep His covenant,
And remember to do His commandments [imprinting His word on their hearts].
The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all [the universe].
Bless the Lord, you His angels,
You mighty ones who do His commandments,
Obeying the voice of His word!
Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him and do His will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion;
Bless and affectionately praise the Lord, O my soul!
Like a [common] clay vessel covered with the silver dross [making it appear silver when it has no real value]
Are burning lips [murmuring manipulative words] and a wicked heart.