“Your punishment will end, daughter Zion; he will not prolong your exile. But he will punish your sin, daughter Edom, and expose your wickedness.” Lamentations 4:22
Zion and Edom. Who are these? They are Israel, the people of God descended from Jacob, and the Edomites who were descended from Esau.
In Genesis, Rebekah was told by God that the older, Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob. This prophecy has been working itself out through the Scripture.
As God’s people are sent into exile in Babylon, the Edomites take the side of their enemies and mock the destruction of Jerusalem. They look down on their brother. The whole book of Obadiah describes how God feels about this and now here in Lamentations 4:22 is God’s verdict on these two.
Yes, Zion has sinned! They have rebelled shamelessly and are being punished by God. But the end of their punishment is not destruction. It is healing. God disciplines those he loves and he knows exactly how long it will take. He will not prolong their exile.
But the end of Edom is destruction. Their punishment is just beginning as the NLT translates it.
Has Zion done anything to deserve this? Absolutely not. It is the free and gracious work of God in saving his people. He will have mercy on who he will have mercy.