Lamentations 1:7-22

7 ZAIN. Jerusalem remembered the days of her affliction, and her rejection; all her desirable things which were from the days of old, when her people fell into the hands of the oppressor, and there was none to help her: when her enemies saw they laughed at her habitation.
8 HETH. Jerusalem has sinned a sin; therefore has she come into tribulation, all that used to honour her have afflicted her, for they have seen her shame: yea, she herself groaned, and turned backward.
9 TETH. Her uncleanness is before her feet; she remembered not her last end; she has lowered her boasting , there is none to comfort her. Behold, O Lord, my affliction: for the enemy has magnified himself.
10 JOD. The oppressor has stretched out his hand on all her desirable things: for she has seen the Gentiles entering into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.
11 CHAPH. All her people groan, seeking bread: they have given their desirable things for meat, to restore their soul: behold, Lord, and look; for she is become dishonoured.
12 LAMED. All ye that pass by the way, turn, and see if there is sorrow like to my sorrow, which has happened . The Lord who spoke by me has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.
13 MEM. He has sent fire from his lofty habitation, he has brought it into my bones: he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate mourning all the day.
14 NUN. He has watched over my sins, they are twined about my hands, they have come up on my neck: my strength has failed; for the Lord has laid pains on my hands, I shall not be able to stand.
15 SAMECH. The Lord has cut off all my strong men from the midst of me: he has summoned against me a time for crushing my choice men: the Lord has trodden a wine-press for the virgin daughter of Juda: for these things I weep.
16 AIN. Mine eye has poured out water, because he that should comfort me, that should restore my soul, has been removed far from me: my sons have been destroyed, because the enemy has prevailed.
17 PHE. Sion has spread out her hand, there is none to comfort her: the Lord has commanded Jacob, his oppressors are round about him: Jerusalem has become among them as a removed woman.
18 TSADE. The Lord is righteous; for I have provoked his mouth: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my grief: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
19 KOPH. I called my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders failed in the city; for they sought meat that they might restore their souls, and found not.
20 RHECHS. Behold, O Lord; for I am afflicted: my belly is troubled, and my heart is turned within me; for I have been grievously rebellious: abroad the sword has bereaved me, even as death at home.
21 CHSEN. Hear, I pray you, for I groan: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard mine afflictions, and rejoice because thou hast done : thou hast brought on the day, thou hast called the time: they are become like to me.
22 THAU. Let all their wickedness come before thy face; and strip them, as they have made a gleaning for all my sins: for my groans are many, and my heart is grieved.

Lamentations 1:7-22 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS

This book very properly follows the prophecy of Jeremiah, not only because wrote by him, but because of the subject matter of it, the deplorable case of the Jews upon the destruction of their city; and has been reckoned indeed as making one book with it; so Dean Prideaux {a} supposes it was reckoned by Josephus {b}, according to the number of the books of the Old Testament, which he gives; but it does not stand in this order in all printed Hebrew Bibles, especially in those published by the Jews; where it is placed in the Hagiographa, and among the five Megilloth; or with the books of Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon's Song, read at their festivals, as this on their public fast, on the ninth of Ab, for the destruction of their city; because they fancy it was not written by the gift of prophecy, but by the Holy Ghost, between which they make a distinction; and therefore remove it from the prophets; but this is the most natural place for it. It is sometimes called by the Jews "Echa", from the first word of it, which signifies "how"; and sometimes "Kinoth", "Lamentations", from the subject of it; and so by the Septuagint version "Threni", which signifies the same; and which is followed by the Vulgate Latin, and others, and by us. That Jeremiah was the writer of it is not questioned; nor is the divine authority of it doubted of. The precise place and time where and when he wrote it is not certain: some say he wrote it in a cave or den near Jerusalem; and Adrichomius {c} makes mention of a place, called

``the Prophet Jeremiah's pit, where he sat in the bitterness of his soul, grieving and weeping; and lamented and described the destruction of Jerusalem made by the Chaldeans, in a fourfold alphabet in metre; where Helena the empress, according to Nicephorus, built some wonderful works;''

but it rather seems that he wrote these Lamentations after he was carried away with the rest of the captives to Ramah, and dismissed to Mizpah, at one or other of these places. It is written in Hebrew metre, though now little understood; and the first four chapters in an alphabetical manner; every verse beginning in order with the letters of the alphabet; and in the third chapter it is done three times over; three verses together beginning with the same letter: this seems to be done to make it more agreeable, and to help the memory. Jarchi thinks that this is the same book, which, having been publicly read by Baruch, was cut to pieces by King Jehoiakim, and cast into the fire {d} and burnt; which consisted of the first, second, and fourth chapters, and to which was afterwards added the third chapter; but it is without any reason or foundation; seeing that contained all Jeremiah's prophecies, not only against Israel and Judah, but against all the nations, Jer 32:2; which this book has nothing of; nor even the words, which are particularly said to be in that, respecting the destruction of Jerusalem by the king of Babylon, Jer 32:29; Josephus {e} seems to have been of opinion that this book of Lamentations was written by Jeremy on account of the death of Josiah, 2Ch 35:25; and in which he is followed by many; but the lamentation made in this book is not for a single person only, but for a city, and even for the whole nation of the Jews; nor is there anything suitable to Josiah, and his case; what seems most plausible is in La 4:20; and that better agrees with Zedekiah than with him. It appears plainly to be written after the destruction of the city and temple, and the sad desolation made in the land of Judea, because of the sins of the priests and people; and the design of it is to lament these things; to bring them to repentance and humiliation for their sins, and to give some comfortable hope that God will be merciful to them, and restore them again to their former privileges, for which the prophet prays. The introduction to it, in the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, is,

``and it came to pass after Israel was carried captive, and Jerusalem laid waste, Jeremiah sat weeping, and delivered out this lamentation over Jerusalem; and said,''

what follows.

{a} Connexion, par. 1. p. 332. {b} Contr. Apion. l. 1. sect. 8. {c} Theatrum Terrae Sanctae, p. 174. No. 224. {d} Vid. T. Bab. Moed Katon, fol. 26. 1. {e} Antiqu. l. 10. c. 5. sect. 1.

\\INTRODUCTION TO LAMENTATIONS 1\\

This chapter contains a complaint of the miseries of the city of Jerusalem, and the nation of the Jews; first by the Prophet Jeremiah, then by the Jewish people; and is concluded with a prayer of theirs. The prophet deplores the state of the city, now depopulated and become tributary, which had been full of people, and ruled over others; but now in a very mournful condition, and forsaken and ill used by her lovers and friends, turned her enemies, La 1:1,2; and next the state of the whole nation; being carried captive for their sins among the Heathens; having no rest, being overtaken by their persecutors, La 1:3; but what most of all afflicted him was the state of Zion; her ways mourning; her solemn feasts neglected; her gates desolate; her priests sighing, and virgins afflicted; her adversaries prosperous; her beauty departed; her sabbaths mocked; her nakedness seen; and all her pleasant things in the sanctuary seized on by the adversary; and all this because of her many transgressions, grievous sins, and great pollution and vileness, which are confessed, La 1:4-11; then the people themselves, or the prophet representing them, lament their case, and call upon others to sympathize with them, La 1:12; observing the sad desolation made by the hand of the Lord upon them for their iniquities, La 1:13-15; on account of which great sorrow is expressed; and their case is represented as the more distressing, that they had no comforter, La 1:16,17; then follows a prayer to God, in which his righteousness in doing or suffering all this is acknowledged, and mercy is entreated for themselves, and judgments on their enemies, La 1:18-22.

Lamentations 1:7-22 In-Context

5 HE. Her oppressors are become the head, and her enemies have prospered; for the Lord has afflicted her because of the multitude of her sins: her young children are gone into captivity before the face of the oppressor.
6 VAU. And all her beauty has been taken away from the daughter of Sion: her princes were as rams finding no pasture, and are gone in weakness before the face of the pursuer.
7 ZAIN. Jerusalem remembered the days of her affliction, and her rejection; all her desirable things which were from the days of old, when her people fell into the hands of the oppressor, and there was none to help her: when her enemies saw they laughed at her habitation.
8 HETH. Jerusalem has sinned a sin; therefore has she come into tribulation, all that used to honour her have afflicted her, for they have seen her shame: yea, she herself groaned, and turned backward.
9 TETH. Her uncleanness is before her feet; she remembered not her last end; she has lowered her boasting , there is none to comfort her. Behold, O Lord, my affliction: for the enemy has magnified himself.
10 JOD. The oppressor has stretched out his hand on all her desirable things: for she has seen the Gentiles entering into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.
11 CHAPH. All her people groan, seeking bread: they have given their desirable things for meat, to restore their soul: behold, Lord, and look; for she is become dishonoured.
12 LAMED. All ye that pass by the way, turn, and see if there is sorrow like to my sorrow, which has happened . The Lord who spoke by me has afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.
13 MEM. He has sent fire from his lofty habitation, he has brought it into my bones: he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate mourning all the day.
14 NUN. He has watched over my sins, they are twined about my hands, they have come up on my neck: my strength has failed; for the Lord has laid pains on my hands, I shall not be able to stand.
15 SAMECH. The Lord has cut off all my strong men from the midst of me: he has summoned against me a time for crushing my choice men: the Lord has trodden a wine-press for the virgin daughter of Juda: for these things I weep.
16 AIN. Mine eye has poured out water, because he that should comfort me, that should restore my soul, has been removed far from me: my sons have been destroyed, because the enemy has prevailed.
17 PHE. Sion has spread out her hand, there is none to comfort her: the Lord has commanded Jacob, his oppressors are round about him: Jerusalem has become among them as a removed woman.
18 TSADE. The Lord is righteous; for I have provoked his mouth: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my grief: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.
19 KOPH. I called my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders failed in the city; for they sought meat that they might restore their souls, and found not.
20 RHECHS. Behold, O Lord; for I am afflicted: my belly is troubled, and my heart is turned within me; for I have been grievously rebellious: abroad the sword has bereaved me, even as death at home.
21 CHSEN. Hear, I pray you, for I groan: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard mine afflictions, and rejoice because thou hast done : thou hast brought on the day, thou hast called the time: they are become like to me.
22 THAU. Let all their wickedness come before thy face; and strip them, as they have made a gleaning for all my sins: for my groans are many, and my heart is grieved.

The Brenton translation of the Septuagint is in the public domain.