The Sorrows of Zion
1 [a]How solitary and lonely sits the city [Jerusalem]
That was [once] full of people!
How like a widow she has become.
She who was great among the nations!
The princess among the provinces,
Has become a forced laborer!
She weeps bitterly in the night
And her tears are [constantly] on her cheeks;
Among all her lovers (political allies)
She has no one to comfort her.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies.(A)
Judah has gone into exile under affliction
And under harsh servitude;
She dwells among the [pagan] nations,
But she has found no rest;
All her pursuers have overtaken her
In the midst of [her] distress.
The roads to Zion are in mourning
Because no one comes to the appointed feasts.
All her gates are desolate;
Her priests are groaning,
Her virgins are grieved and suffering,
And she suffers bitterly.
Her adversaries have become her masters,
Her enemies prosper;
For the Lord has caused her grief
Because of the multitude of her transgressions;
Her young children have gone
Into captivity before the enemy.(B)
All her beauty and majesty
Have departed from the Daughter of Zion (Jerusalem).
Her princes have become like deer
That have found no pasture;
They have fled without strength
Before the pursuer.
In the days of her affliction and homelessness
Jerusalem remembers all her precious things
That she had from the days of old,
When her people fell into the hand of the adversary,
And no one helped her,
The enemy saw her,
They mocked at her downfall.
Jerusalem sinned greatly;
Therefore she has become an unclean thing [and has been removed].
All who honored her [now] despise her
Because they have seen her nakedness;
Even she herself groans and turns [her face] away.
Her (ceremonial) uncleanness was on her skirts;
She did not [seriously] consider her future.
Therefore she has come down [from throne to slavery] in an astonishing manner;
She has no comforter.
“O Lord” [cries Jerusalem], “look at my affliction,
For the enemy has magnified himself [in triumph]!”
The adversary has spread out his hand
Over all her precious and desirable things;
For she has seen the [Gentile] nations enter her sanctuary (the Jerusalem temple)—
[b]The ones whom You commanded
That they should not enter into Your congregation [not even in the outer courts].(C)
All her people groan, seeking bread;
They have exchanged their desirable and precious things for food
To restore their lives.
“See, O Lord, and consider
How despised and repulsive I have become!”
“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass this way?
Look and see if there is any pain like my pain
Which was severely dealt out to me,
Which the Lord has inflicted [on me] on the day of His fierce anger.
“From on high He sent fire into my bones,
And it prevailed over them.
He has spread a net for my feet;
He has turned me back.
He has made me desolate and hopelessly miserable,
Faint all the day long.
“The yoke of my transgressions is bound;
By His hand they are knit and woven together.
They have come upon my neck.
He has made my strength fail;
The Lord has put me into the hand
Of those against whom I cannot stand.(D)
“The Lord has rejected all the strong men
In my midst;
He has proclaimed an established time against me
To crush my young men.
The Lord has trampled down as in a wine press
The Virgin Daughter of Judah.
“I weep for these things;
My eyes overflow with tears,
Because a comforter,
One who could restore my soul, is far away from me.
My children are desolate and perishing,
For the enemy has prevailed.”(E)
Zion stretches out her hands,
But there is no comforter for her.
The Lord has commanded concerning Jacob
That his neighbors should be his enemies;
Jerusalem has become a filthy thing [an object of contempt] among them.
“The Lord is righteous and just;
For I have rebelled against His commandment (His word).
Hear now, all you peoples,
And look at my pain;
My virgins and my young men
Have gone into captivity.
“I [Jerusalem] called to my lovers (political allies), but they deceived me.
My priests and my elders perished in the city
While they looked for food to restore their strength.
“See, O Lord, how distressed I am!
My spirit is deeply disturbed;
My heart is overturned within me and cannot rest,
For I have been very rebellious.
In the street the sword kills and bereaves;
In the house there is [famine, disease and] death!
“People have heard that I groan,
That I have no comforter [in You].
All my enemies have heard of my desperation;
They are delighted [O Lord] that You have done it.
Oh, that You would bring the day [of judgment] which You have proclaimed
So that they will become like me.(F)
“Let all their wickedness come before You;
And deal with them as You have dealt with me
Because of all my transgressions;
For my groans are many and my heart is faint.”
- Lamentations 1:1 The writings of the prophets are not only valuable contributions to Old Testament history, but the reader is also enriched by familiarity with the forecasts of events which have been fulfilled, thus revealing the divine inspiration of the books and the wisdom and power of the God who prompted their writings.
- Lamentations 1:10 The Ammonites and Moabites, descendants of Lot and related to Israel, were forbidden to enter the congregation of the Lord, “even to their tenth generation,” because they refused to assist the sons of Israel when they were escaping from Egypt, and because they hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut 23:3, 4). The Israelites never assembled any closer to the sanctuary of the temple than in the court outside its door. No Jew, not even David was authorized to enter the sanctuary proper except for certain Levites to whom such service was assigned. But now, Jeremiah says, the forbidden pagan nations enter the Holy of Holies to vandalize.