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FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations

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FRAMEWORKS: Lamentations 1: Anguish for what has happened


[Preliminary Comments: Lamentations does not easily fall into identifiable short sections and so we have simply provided our own brief synopsis of each verse. The reader may prefer to provide their own. We hope these ones will help.

This first chapter is a straight forward mourning over what has happened to Jerusalem. We summarize main points at the end of the chapter. We also recommend that either before or after, you read the chapter out loud in your own Bible to catch a wider sense of what it is saying. As a song or poetry it is better read out loud.]



v.1 Oh how great the downfall of Jerusalem has been, once a queen, now a slave


v.How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. 


v.2 She weeps in her lonely isolation, abandoned


v.2  Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are on her cheeks. Among all her lovers there is no one to comfort her. All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies. 


v.3 Judah was taken into exile, her future uncertain


v.3  After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile. She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place. All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress. 


v.4 The roads to Jerusalem are empty, as a city she groans and grieves


v.4  The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed festivals. All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan, her young women grieve, and she is in bitter anguish. 


v.5 Her enemies have become her masters, she is taken by God into exile for her sins


v.5  Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease. The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe. 


v.6 Her past glories are gone, her princes have fled


v.6  All the splendor has departed from Daughter Zion. Her princes are like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before the pursuer. 


v.7 Adrift in exile she remembers her past, before she fell into enemy hands


v.7  In the days of her affliction and wandering Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old. When her people fell into enemy hands, there was no one to help her. Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction. 


v.8 Jerusalem sinned, once honoured now despised


v.8  Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean. All who honored her despise her, for they have all seen her naked; she herself groans and turns away. 


v.9 Her wrongdoings clung to her and with no thought to the future, she is now alone


v.9  Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future. Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her. “Look, LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.” 


v.10 Pagan enemies pillaged her treasures and her temple


v.10  The enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly. 


v.11 Now her people are starving and despised


v.11  All her people groan as they search for bread; they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive. “Look, LORD, and consider, for I am despised.” 


v.12 Those who pass by fail to see the awful things done to her by the Lord


v.12  “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see. Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me, that the LORD brought on me in the day of his fierce anger? 


v.13 It was the Lord who burned her and brought her down


v.13  “From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones. He spread a net for my feet and turned me back. He made me desolate, faint all the day long. 


v.14 He took all her sins and used them against her


v.14  “My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together. They have been hung on my neck, and the Lord has sapped my strength. He has given me into the hands of those I cannot withstand. 


v.15 He disdained our forces and brought a superior army to trample us down


v.15  “The Lord has rejected all the warriors in my midst; he has summoned an army against me to crush my young men. In his winepress the Lord has trampled Virgin Daughter Judah. 


v.16 No wonder I weep, alone and destitute because of what the enemy has done


v.16  “This is why I weep and my eyes overflow with tears. No one is near to comfort me, no one to restore my spirit. My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.” 


v.17 We reach out for comfort but there is no one, all are against us


v.17  Zion stretches out her hands, but there is no one to comfort her. The LORD has decreed for Jacob that his neighbors become his foes; Jerusalem has become an unclean thing among them. 


v.18 For rejecting the Lord's righteous call, we have gone into exile


v.18  “The LORD is righteous, yet I rebelled against his command. Listen, all you peoples; look on my suffering. My young men and young women have gone into exile. 


v.19 Friends betrayed us, our leaders failed us


v.19  “I called to my allies but they betrayed me. My priests and my elders perished in the city while they searched for food to keep themselves alive. 


v.20 I am in anguish, brought on by my rebellion, death prevails inside and out


v.20  “See, LORD, how distressed I am! I am in torment within, and in my heart I am disturbed, for I have been most rebellious. Outside, the sword bereaves; inside, there is only death. 


v.21 The world hears our groaning and rejoices and will pay for that


v.21  “People have heard my groaning, but there is no one to comfort me. All my enemies have heard of my distress; they rejoice at what you have done. May you bring the day you have announced so they may become like me. 


v.22 May their own wickedness come on them as it is on us


v.22  “Let all their wickedness come before you; deal with them as you have dealt with me because of all my sins. My groans are many and my heart is faint.”



[Additional Comments: Within this lament there is:

- acknowledgement of the sin that brought this about [v.5b,8a,14a,18a,20a]

- acknowledgement it is a judgment of God [v.5,12-15,17]

- recognition that it was brought by enemies [v.3,5,7,10,14,15-17]

- anguish has come from a siege that brought starvation [v.11] and an enemy outside

- that enemy prevailed and took them into exile [v.3,5,18]

- they pillaged the temple [v.4b]

- and left the people in great distress [v.4,6,7,11,19]

- Jerusalem personified is shown in deep distress [v.1,2,7,9,17-21]



Continue to Ch.2