Lamentations 4

Chapter four brings Jeremiah back to describing the state of Jerusalem. Gold and jewels, which were once valuable, were worthless (Lamentations 4:1). There was no food or water or shelter; cannibalism had become normal (Lamentations 4:4-5, 9-10). Disease was rampant (Lamentations 4:8), and no one was willing to help them (Lamentations 4:14-16).

In a slight departure from chapters one and two, where Jerusalem was personified, now the inhabitants of Jerusalem spoke (Lamentations 4:17-20). 1 Recalling the fateful days when Nebuchadnezzar was at their door, they remembered looking for help that did not come and running until there was nowhere else to go. Even the one they thought could save them – their “very life breath” – their king was unable to do anything.

The last two verses of the chapter seem out-of-place in this book about Jerusalem’s ruin. Jeremiah turned his attention to Edom (Esau’s descendants), who had been mentioned only briefly in his prophecies (Jeremiah 25:21; 27:3; 49:7-22). Essentially, he said, “Laugh now, Edom, because your turn is coming!” Israel would be restored, but Edom would be annihilated forever.

Notes:

  1. In the first two chapters, “Jerusalem” always spoke in the first person singular (I, me, my), whereas the rest of the book uses the plural (we, us, our).

Isaiah 12

Chapter twelve finishes the message of chapter eleven about Israel’s deliverance. In the Messianic kingdom, Israel’s attitude of arrogance will be turned to humility and trust in God (Isaiah 12:1-2). They will acknowledge the punishment that they were due, thank Jehovah for his deliverance, and finally show their complete reliance on him. They will draw their life from their relationship with him, and they will share that with the Gentile nations, calling on them to worship Jehovah as well (Isaiah 12:3-6).

The title “the Holy One of Israel” is a favorite phrase of Isaiah, occurring 19 times in this book. It is found only three other times in the entire Old Testament (2 Kings 19:22; Psalm 71:22; Jeremiah 50:29). This fits Isaiah’s overall theme of Jehovah’s salvation and may be linked back to his commissioning in chapter six, when he heard the seraphim chanting “holy, holy, holy.”

Isaiah 11

Chapter eleven continues the theme of Israel’s restoration. Picking up on the analogy of Assyria as a great tree to be cut down, Isaiah pointed to the coming Messiah as “a shoot…out of Jesse’s root stock, a bud…from his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Like his father, David, this king will have God’s Spirit on him, helping him make wise and godly decisions over God’s people. He will execute perfect justice and righteousness, which will characterize his reign (Isaiah 11:2-5). During his kingdom, the curse on creation will be lifted (Genesis 9:2, 5; Romans 8:19-22), and his kingdom will cover the entire earth.

Messiah’s rule will not be over Israel only but over all the nations (Isaiah 11:10-16). One of the key indicators that it is truly Messiah’s kingdom will be the return of the remnant to the land of Israel from all the nations where they will be. None of the other returns to date (Zerubbabel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1948), or even in the Tribulation, can be the fulfillment, because Messiah is not in Jerusalem yet. Additionally, there will be topographical changes as well, including the drying up of the Euphrates River before their return (Revelation 16:12). This return will be an event reminiscent of, but much greater than, the exodus from Egypt (see Jeremiah 16:14-15).