The Prophet Cried Out in Anguish Over Jerusalem

In 1858 Scottish missionary John G. Paton and his wife sailed for the New Hebrides. Three months after arriving on the island of Tanna, his wife died. One week later his infant son also died. Paton was plunged into sorrow. Feeling terribly alone, and surrounded by savage people w … More


This passage contains Jeremiah’s anguished cry as he wept over the destruction of the city he had loved and he calls for the people to cry out to God (vv. 11-19). He vividly portrays five sketches of  Jerusalem’s condition which prompted his cry:

  1. Of the starvation that had destroyed Jerusalem during the siege (vv. 11-12). For his liver (heart) to be “poured upon the earth” meant that he was fully drained emotionally.
  2. Of a man trying desperately to offer comfort to a grieving friend (v. 13). Unfortunately the magnitude of judgement was so severe that no comfort could be given.
  3. Of false prophets hastening rather than hindering Jerusalem’s downfall (v. 14). Jeremiah and Ezekiel were faithful prophets but others were giving predictions of peace and prosperity.
  4. Of the enemy mocking the people (vv. 15-17). The once-majestic and secure city of Jerusalem was now the object of scoffing as her enemies rejoiced in their victory.
  5. Of the remnant of people wailing to God in despair because of their calamity (vv. 18-19). The phrase “pour out your heart like water” seems to have referred to sincere prayer.

A horrific description is given as in desperation children were being eaten by those who bore them (cannibalism), a most reprehensible crime against humanity, was resorted to by the Hebrews only as a last desperate act (v. 20). Priest and prophet alike were massacred in the Temple; young and old lie unburied in the street; virgins, young women and young men are fallen by the sword (vv. 21-22). God had warned Israel what would happen if she disobeyed Him (Lev. 26:14-39 and Deut. 28:15-68).


What is my reaction to moral degradation? I need to be deeply moved, like Jeremiah was, as I see the moral decay surrounding us today. The only answer is a revival which needs to start in my own heart.

Lamentations 2:11-22 (English Standard Version)

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