This second poem leaves no doubt of the horrifying prospect that God himself is the antagonist: that he has turned against his own Daughter Zion. She in consequence considers the horrifying prospect of cannibalising her own infants (2:20, repeated at 4:10). It recounts God's anger being unleashed on her; it concludes in turn with her anger being unleashed towards God.
Bookended, "A to Z", by "the day of the Lord's anger", this is the nightmare-turned-reality incarnation of the prophet's warning, Amos 5:18–20; it is the polar opposite of the psalmist's praise, Ps. 118:24–27. The poem has some striking similarities with the psalmist's lament, Ps. 89:38–45.
Observe the "pitiless"/"without pity" thread in vv.2, 17 and 21 (also 3:43). Observe, too, the even more savage "devour" thread in vv.2, 5 (twice) 8 and 16. There is a final, vile twist at v.20. Women are cannibalising their children because the Lord has devoured his people.
In the Hebrew text, over 80% of this poem's verses, 1–11 and 15–21, start with verbs. And additionally, within those verses, many of their internal couplets are similarly verb-fronted. In English this can be seen strikingly in Young's Literal Translation from the late nineteenth century. This bombarding effect is counter to the English-language "subject then verb" convention. That sustained, pounding drive is conveyed here by using a verb-fronted, list-like structure for the first few verses, with the subject being relegated to less prominent placement. For example the first three verses may be read as:
Alas! Angered, my Lord:
—put out of mind…
—blitzed to the ground…
—razed in fury…
My Lord has:
The first poem had been in two "voices", approximately 50–50: a witness-reporter and Daughter Zion herself. This second poem is mostly voiced by the reporter, until at 18–19 the reporter can be seen to implore the city to voice her complaint, which she accordingly does to close the poem. Yet in the midst of their initially objective reportage, the reporter breaks down and speaks subjectively of their own personal response in a soliloquy, 11–17, that interrrupts their graphic portrayal of the violence and seeks, however vainly, to comfort Jerusalem. And the likely trigger for the observer's change of stance in v11? Here is where the tortured, lingering deaths of infants and children, the innocents, are witnessed, with their own mothers agonisingly helpless. "Who could heal you?" (v13). The only possible healer is God, but God is the very one ravaging her in the first place.
Cut off in his smouldering wrath
every horn of Israel;
withdrawn his right hand
at enemy approach;
blazed against Jacob in fire,
consuming all around.
Enemy! So my Lord has become,
and devoured Israel—
has devoured all her palaces,
and laid waste her strongholds;
has multiplied within Daughter Judah
wailing and weeping.
Hell-bent was the Lord on destroying
Daughter Zion's wall;
out-stretching his tape-measure; not staying
his hand from devouring;
making mourn both wall and rampart,
which together collapse.
Ingested in the ground sank her gates;
her bars shattered, destroyed.
Her king and her princes are exiled;
law is absent;
her prophets, too, found
no vision from the Lord.
Mothers hear them crying out loud:
"Where is corn and wine?"
as they expire like the sword-wounded
in the city streets;
as their lives pour away
on their mothers' bosom.
O Daughter Jerusalem: to what can I
liken you? How advocate?
O virgin Daughter Zion:
whose plight is like yours?
Wide as the sea is your ravaging;
who could heal you?
Prophets provided you visions—
They did not lay bare your guilt
to restore your fortunes;
they saw for you only oracles
of illusion and deceit.
Snarling and gnashing their teeth,
all your enemies
gape their mouths at you, saying
"We have devoured her!
Long for this day we have waited—
we have lived to look upon it!"
The Lord has done what he planned,
has fulfilled his threat
decreed from days of old,
to destroy without pity;
has let the enemy over you gloat
and exalted your foes' horn.
Unto our Lord let your heart cry,
wall of Daughter Zion.
Shed tears like a torrent
day and night;
give yourself no relief,
your eyes no rest.
Vociferous! Cry anguished at night,
at the start of each watch.
Pour out your heart like water
before the face of our Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your babes
[who faint from famine and hunger
at every street-corner].
Young and old lie strewn
on the ground in the streets;
young women and young men fallen,
cut down by the sword.
You slew them on the day of your wrath:
Zoned round, as to a feast day—
the terrors you summoned!
On the day of the Lord's anger
none escaped or survived;
those I had nursed and reared,
my enemy annihilated.
 Hens-Piazza (2017), p.xliii.
 This is just one component of a chiastic structure across this chapter. Other components include the resonance of the opening and closing verbs ("angered"/"beclouded" and "annihilated") and the "horn" motif.
 For these references see Goldingay (2022): p.91 (Amos); p.111 (Ps.118); p.89 (Ps.89).
 Dobbs-Allsopp (1997), p.49.
 Provan (2016), p.57.
 Hens-Piazza (2017), pp.34–35.
 This includes even the very opening itself if, as the rhythm suggests, the opening "Alas!" is treated as an outlying anacrusis.
 Young's Literal Translation is able to do this reasonably accurately because, unlike this version, it is not constrained by attempting either qinah or alphabetic acrostics. That said, of course, this poetry-led version attempts to retain this linguistic feature where possible.
 Middlemas (2021), p.94.
 Hens-Piazza (2017), pp.25–26.
 O'Connor (2002), p.38.
 See footnotes on 1:1.
 Footstool: a metaphorical reference to Jerusalem, its temple or the ark within the temple. See Goldingay (2022), p.92; Provan (2016), pp.59–60.
 For acrostic purposes, the first and last couplets have been interchanged.
 A "ground" thread runs throughout this chapter: vv.2,9,10,11,21. See also Dobbs-Allsopp (2012), p.93.
 The Lord's "right hand", usually defensive of his people, was not only withdrawn in v.3 but is now turned to attack against them both here and in v.8. See also the "enemy hands" in v.7.
 This overall line is shorter than the usual qinah 3–2; Goldingay (2022), p.95, note 'd'.
 The city. Contrast "bivouac", 6a, a different noun, which refers to the Temple.
 A "pour" thread runs through the chapter at vv.4, 11, 12 and 19. See also the "disgorge" thread in chapter 4.
 The Hebrew also has an alliterative wordplay here.
 The Temple, yet here referred to as something flimsy and temporary. See note on "tent", 4c.
 The "like a garden" simile has been perplexing down the centuries, with no settled understanding. In her compact 126 page commentary on the whole book, Berlin (2004) devotes over one entire page solely to this one term, briefly laying out a wide range of possibilities. Some sort of resonance with the Garden of Eden is likely, possibly combined with a contrast to Sodom from Gen.13:10: "…like the garden of the Lord…before the Lord had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah".
 Translation compromise. Rather than "God has…" (Hebrew El) this should ideally have been "My Lord has…" (Hebrew Adonai). But there seems no suitable acrostic 'G' word for this line. Switching it with the next line, "given over…", would leave too large a gap before identifying "my Lord"; and early, strong identification seems important in this verse.
 "God has enabled Israel's enemies to engage in a parody of [Israel's] worship in the very temple itself." Provan (2016), p.67.
 This line may well refer to the absence of religious law (in parallel to the secular goverance of the first line).
 The names "Jerusalem" and "Zion" are interchanged in this verse for acrostic purposes. A rejected alternative would have been to invert the verse (lines 1-2-3 becoming 3-2-1) but that would have lost the thematic continuity from the previous verse's "rulers" and "prophets" into this verse's "elders".
 From the elders, the most senior male figures, to the most junior female figures: this suggests the two extremes of the city's social spectrum, becoming a merism representing the entire surviving population. Berlin (2004), p.71; Dobbs-Allsopp (2012), p.92; Goldingay (2022), p.103.
 This vivid translation courtesy of Berlin (2004), p.63.
 The "Daughter People" half-line is the same at 2:11, 3:48 and 4:10.
 Compare Matt.27:39-40: "Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, "You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, [and] come down from the cross!"
 Psalm 48:2, Psalm 50:2; Ezek.27:3.
 This verse, like 1:7 and 4:15, has an extra line in the Hebrew, considered by some commentators to be a marginal gloss. See also Provan (2016), p.77.
 An untranslatable pun of horrific intensity bites through here between the similar words for "babe" (vv.19c, 20b) and "tormented". Dobbs-Allsopp (2012), p.99.
 The rare Hebrew word here represented as "nursed" is very close to the word for "apple", reinforcing the preceding "womb's fruit". Dobbs-Allsopp (2012), p.15.
 Intensification of "slew" to "butchered". The latter also builds from the cannibalism of the previous verse; Berlin (2004), p.76.