Lamentations 1: Anguish for what has happened
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.
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.]
Oh how great the downfall of Jerusalem has been, once a queen,
now a slave
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.
She weeps in her lonely isolation, abandoned
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.
Judah was taken into exile, her future uncertain
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.
The roads to Jerusalem are empty, as a city she groans and grieves
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.
Her enemies have become her masters, she is taken by God into
exile for her sins
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.
Her past glories are gone, her princes have fled
the splendor has departed from Daughter Zion. Her princes are
like deer that find no pasture; in weakness they have fled before
Adrift in exile she remembers her past, before she fell into enemy
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.
Jerusalem sinned, once honoured now despised
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.
Her wrongdoings clung to her and with no thought to the future,
she is now alone
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.”
Pagan enemies pillaged her treasures and her temple
enemy laid hands on all her treasures; she saw pagan nations enter
her sanctuary— those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.
Now her people are starving and despised
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.”
Those who pass by fail to see the awful things done to her by
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?
It was the Lord who burned her and brought her down
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.
He took all her sins and used them against her
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
He disdained our forces and brought a superior army to trample
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.
No wonder I weep, alone and destitute because of what the enemy
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.”
We reach out for comfort but there is no one, all are against
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.
For rejecting the Lord's righteous call, we have gone into exile
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.
Friends betrayed us, our leaders failed us
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
I am in anguish, brought on by my rebellion, death prevails inside
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.
The world hears our groaning and rejoices and will pay for that
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.
May their own wickedness come on them as it is on us
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.”
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]