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©Bonnie LaBelle

Chapter 19 (ESV)

Posted on February 15, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 19 (ESV) - And you, take up a lamentation for the princes of Israel, and say:

What was your mother? A lioness!
    Among lions she crouched;
in the midst of young lions
    she reared her cubs.
And she brought up one of her cubs;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men.
The nations heard about him;
    he was caught in their pit,
and they brought him with hooks
    to the land of Egypt.
When she saw that she waited in vain,
    that her hope was lost,
she took another of her cubs
    and made him a young lion.
He prowled among the lions;
    he became a young lion,
and he learned to catch prey;
    he devoured men,
and seized their widows.
    He laid waste their cities,
and the land was appalled and all who were in it
    at the sound of his roaring.
Then the nations set against him
    from provinces on every side;
they spread their net over him;
    he was taken in their pit.
With hooks they put him in a cage
    and brought him to the king of Babylon;
    they brought him into custody,
that his voice should no more be heard
    on the mountains of Israel.

Your mother was like a vine in a vineyard
    planted by the water,
fruitful and full of branches
    by reason of abundant water.
Its strong stems became
    rulers' scepters;
it towered aloft
    among the thick boughs;
it was seen in its height
    with the mass of its branches.
But the vine was plucked up in fury,
    cast down to the ground;
the east wind dried up its fruit;
    they were stripped off and withered.
As for its strong stem,
    fire consumed it.
Now it is planted in the wilderness,
    in a dry and thirsty land.
And fire has gone out from the stem of its shoots,
    has consumed its fruit,
so that there remains in it no strong stem,
    no scepter for ruling.

This is a lamentation and has become a lamentation.

Question to consider: What are the different methods God used to warn Jerusalem of its coming destruction?

A lamentation is like a funeral march, and in this case was used to lament the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem through the fall of three kings. Jeremiah was also known for writing such lamentations regarding this period in history to the point where he was known as the “weeping prophet”. The very first song I ever wrote was called “Jeremiah Weeps,” and was a lament over the corruption and impurity within our own country with a call to turn back to God.

Those who call God unjust for destroying Jerusalem act like His actions were impulsive or arbitrary. However, God went to great lengths to prophesy by spoken word, escalating judgments, written word, drama, and now heartbreaking song to call people to repentance. Every call was met with mockery and hardened hearts and so the day of reckoning arrived.

What is translated as princes is better understood in our generation as rulers. The people would call them kings of Judah, but they were rulers put in place by the Lord who was the true king of Israel. Today, Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords ruling from Mount Zion in the heavenly Jerusalem. Everyone who claims to be king in this world is merely a vassal ruler who answers to Christ.

The first two rulers were described as lions who devoured men. A lion was a symbol for the tribe of Judah, but it can also describe those who were eager for bloodshed and war. The first section described Jehoahaz, a ruler in 609 BC who reigned for only three months before being imprisoned by Egypt. “Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his fathers had done. And Pharaoh Neco put him in bonds at Riblah in the land of Hamath, that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and laid on the land a tribute of a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold.” (2 Kings 23:31-33).

The second ruler was that of Jehoiachin who also only reigned 3 months before Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon laid waste to the land of Judah and captured him (along with Ezekiel and the other exiles). His reign and capture was described in 2 Kings 24:8-16.

The third ruler was Jehoiachin’s uncle, Mattaniah, who was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar to replace Jehoiachin. Nebuchadnezzar changed his name to Zedekiah, and he ruled for eleven years. Zedekiah was the one described as the wayward vine earlier in the vision of the two eagles. God had put him in a position where all he had to do was uphold the agreement with Nebuchadnezzar, and Jerusalem would have survived and flourished. Instead, he made a deal with Egypt to try to overthrow Babylon, and Jerusalem was destroyed.


Dear heavenly Father, help us to see your desire for reconciliation and the heartbreak You have over those who turn from You and go their own way. May we be like Ezekiel and Jeremiah and proclaim the way of life and salvation in the name of Jesus. Amen.