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Lamentations

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Lamentations

Introduction

The book of Lamentations is made up of five poems, each an expression of grief over the fall of Jerusalem. Like a eulogy at a funeral, these laments are intended to mourn a loss—in this case, the loss of a nation. The latter half of chapter 3 implies that the purpose behind the book’s graphic depictions of sorrow and suffering was to produce hope in the God whose compassion is “new every morning” (v. 23) and whose faithfulness is great even to a people who have been condemned for their own unfaithfulness. The author, while not identified in the book itself, may have been the prophet Jeremiah, who was said to have “uttered a lament for Josiah” (2 Chron. 35:25). Lamentations was probably written shortly after Jerusalem’s fall in 586 b.c.

How Lonely Sits the City

aHow lonely sits the city

that was full of people!

How like ba widow has she become,

she who was great among the nations!

She who was ca princess among the provinces

has become da slave.

eShe weeps bitterly in the night,

with tears on her cheeks;

famong all her lovers

she has gnone to comfort her;

hall her friends have dealt treacherously with her;

they have become her enemies.

iJudah has gone into exile because of affliction1

and hard servitude;

jshe dwells now among the nations,

kbut finds no resting place;

her pursuers have all overtaken her

in the midst of her distress.2

The roads to Zion mourn,

for none come to lthe festival;

mall her gates are desolate;

her priests ngroan;

her virgins have been afflicted,3

and she herself suffers bitterly.

oHer foes have become the head;

her penemies prosper,

because qthe Lord has afflicted her

rfor the multitude of her transgressions;

sher children have gone away,

captives before the foe.

From the daughter of Zion

all her majesty has departed.

Her princes have become like deer

tthat find no pasture;

they fled without strength

before the pursuer.

Jerusalem remembers

in the days of her affliction and wandering

uall the precious things

that were hers from vdays of old.

When her people fell into the hand of the foe,

and there was none to help her,

her foes gloated over her;

they wmocked at her downfall.

xJerusalem sinned grievously;

therefore she became filthy;

all who honored her despise her,

yfor they have seen her nakedness;

she herself zgroans

and turns her face away.

Her uncleanness was ain her skirts;

bshe took no thought of her future;4

therefore her fall is terrible;

cshe has no comforter.

“O Lord, behold my affliction,

for the enemy has dtriumphed!”

10  The enemy has stretched out his hands

over all her eprecious things;

for she has seen fthe nations

enter her sanctuary,

those whom you gforbade

to enter your congregation.

11  All her people zgroan

as hthey search for bread;

they trade their etreasures for ifood

to revive their strength.

“Look, O Lord, and see,

for I am despised.”

12  “Is it nothing to you, all jyou who pass by?

kLook and see

if there is any sorrow like my sorrow,

which was brought upon me,

which lthe Lord inflicted

on mthe day of his fierce anger.

13  “From on high he nsent fire;

into my bones5 he made it descend;

ohe spread a net for my feet;

he turned me back;

phe has left me stunned,

faint all the day long.

14  “My transgressions were bound6 into qa yoke;

by his hand they were fastened together;

they were set upon my neck;

he caused my strength to fail;

the Lord gave me into the hands

of those whom I cannot withstand.

15  “The Lord rejected

all my mighty men in my midst;

he summoned an assembly against me

to crush my young men;

rthe Lord has trodden as in a winepress

the virgin daughter of Judah.

16  “For these things sI weep;

my eyes flow with tears;

for ta comforter is far from me,

one to urevive my spirit;

my children are desolate,

for the enemy has prevailed.”

17  vZion stretches out her hands,

but tthere is none to comfort her;

the Lord has commanded against Jacob

that his neighbors should be his foes;

Jerusalem has become

a filthy thing among them.

18  w“The Lord is in the right,

xfor I have rebelled against his word;

but hear, all you peoples,

and see my suffering;

ymy young women and my young men

have gone into captivity.

19  “I called to zmy lovers,

but they deceived me;

my priests and elders

perished in the city,

while athey sought food

to revive their strength.

20  “Look, O Lord, for I am in distress;

bmy stomach churns;

my heart is wrung within me,

because I have been very rebellious.

cIn the street the sword bereaves;

in the house it is like death.

21  “They heard7 dmy groaning,

yet ethere is no one to comfort me.

All my enemies have heard of my trouble;

fthey are glad that you have done it.

You have brought8 the day you announced;

fnow let them be as I am.

22  g“Let all their evildoing come before you,

and deal with them

as hyou have dealt with me

because of all my transgressions;

for dmy groans are many,

and imy heart is faint.”

The Lord Has Destroyed Without Pity

How the Lord in his anger

has set the daughter of Zion junder a cloud!

kHe has cast down from heaven to earth

the splendor of Israel;

he has not remembered lhis footstool

in the day of his anger.

The Lord mhas swallowed up nwithout mercy

all the habitations of Jacob;

in his wrath ohe has broken down

the strongholds of the daughter of Judah;

he has brought pdown to the ground pin dishonor

the kingdom qand its rulers.

He has cut down in rfierce anger

all sthe might of Israel;

the has withdrawn from them his right hand

in the face of the enemy;

uhe has burned like a flaming fire in Jacob,

consuming all around.

vHe has bent his bow like an enemy,

with his right hand set wlike a foe;

and he has killed all who were delightful in our eyes

in the tent of the daughter of Zion;

he has poured out his fury like fire.

wThe Lord has become like an enemy;

xhe has swallowed up Israel;

yhe has swallowed up all its palaces;

he has laid in ruins its strongholds,

and he has multiplied in the daughter of Judah

zmourning and lamentation.

He has laid waste his booth like a garden,

laid in ruins ahis meeting place;

athe Lord has made Zion forget

festival and bSabbath,

and in his fierce indignation has spurned king and priest.

cThe Lord has scorned his altar,

ddisowned his sanctuary;

ehe has delivered into the hand of the enemy

the walls of her palaces;

fthey raised a clamor in the house of the Lord

as on the day of festival.

gThe Lord determined to lay in ruins

hthe wall of the daughter of Zion;

ihe stretched out the measuring line;

he did not restrain his hand from destroying;

jhe caused rampart and wall to lament;

jthey languished together.

Her gates have sunk into the ground;

khe has ruined kand broken her bars;

lher king and princes are among the nations;

the law is no more,

and mher prophets find

no vision from the Lord.

10  The elders of the daughter of Zion

nsit on the ground oin silence;

pthey have thrown dust on their heads

and qput on sackcloth;

the young women of Jerusalem

have bowed their heads to the ground.

11  rMy eyes are spent with weeping;

smy stomach churns;

tmy bile is poured out to the ground

ubecause of the destruction of the daughter of my people,

vbecause infants and babies wfaint

in the streets of the city.

12  They cry to their mothers,

x“Where is bread and wine?”

was they faint like a wounded man

in the streets of the city,

as their life is poured out

on their mothers’ bosom.

13  What can I say for you, yto what compare you,

O daughter of Jerusalem?

yWhat can I liken to you, that I may comfort you,

O virgin daughter of Zion?

zFor your ruin is vast as the sea;

who can heal you?

14  aYour prophets have seen for you

false and deceptive visions;

bthey have not exposed your iniquity

to crestore your fortunes,

dbut have seen for you eoracles

that are false and misleading.

15  All who pass along the way

clap their hands at you;

fthey hiss and wag their heads

at the daughter of Jerusalem:

“Is this the city that was called

gthe perfection of beauty,

gthe joy of all the earth?”

16  hAll your enemies

rail against you;

they hiss, they gnash their teeth,

they cry: “We ihave swallowed her!

Ah, this is the day we longed for;

now we have it; jwe see it!”

17  The Lord has done what he purposed;

he has carried out khis word,

which he commanded llong ago;

mhe has thrown down nwithout pity;

ohe has made the enemy rejoice over you

and exalted the pmight of your foes.

18  Their heart cried to the Lord.

O qwall of the daughter of Zion,

rlet tears stream down like a torrent

sday and night!

tGive yourself no rest,

uyour eyes no respite!

19  “Arise, vcry out in the night,

at the beginning of the night watches!

wPour out your heart like water

before the presence of the Lord!

xLift your hands to him

for the lives of your children,

ywho faint for hunger

at the head of every street.”

20  Look, O Lord, and see!

zWith whom have you dealt thus?

aShould women eat the fruit of their womb,

the children of btheir tender care?

Should cpriest and prophet be killed

in the sanctuary of the Lord?

21  In the dust of the streets

dlie the young and the old;

dmy young women and my young men

have fallen by the sword;

eyou have killed them in the day of your anger,

slaughtering fwithout pity.

22  You summoned as if to ga festival day

hmy terrors on every side,

iand on the day of the anger of the Lord

no one escaped or survived;

jthose whom I held and raised

my enemy destroyed.

Great Is Your Faithfulness

kI am the man who has seen affliction

under the lrod of his wrath;

he has driven and brought me

minto darkness without any light;

surely against me he turns his hand

again and again the whole day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away;

nhe has broken my bones;

ohe has besieged and enveloped me

with pbitterness and tribulation;

qhe has made me dwell in darkness

like the dead of long ago.

rHe has walled me about so that sI cannot escape;

he has made my chains heavy;

though tI call and cry for help,

he shuts out my prayer;

rhe has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;

he has made my paths crooked.

10  u

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