Lamentations

1 How the city sits solitary, that was full of people! She has become as a widow, who was great amongst the nations! She who was a princess amongst the provinces has become tributary! 2 She weeps bitterly in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks; amongst all her lovers she has no one to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they are become her enemies. 3 Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude; she dwells amongst the nations, she finds no rest: all her persecutors overtook her within the straits. 4 The ways of Zion do mourn, because no one come to the solemn assembly; all her gates are desolate, her priests do sigh: her virgins are afflicted, and she herself is in bitterness. 5 Her adversaries are become the head, her enemies prosper; for the LORD* has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her young children are gone into captivity before the adversary. 6 From the daughter of Zion all her majesty is departed: her princes are become like deer that find no pasture, they are gone without strength before the pursuer. 7 Jerusalem remembers in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that were from the days of old: when her people fell into the hand of the adversary, and no one helped her, the adversaries saw her, they mocked at her desolation. 8 Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore she has become as an unclean thing; all who honored her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yes, she sighs, and turns backward. 9 Her filthiness was in her skirts; she didn’t remember her latter end; therefore is she come down wonderfully; she has no comforter: see, LORD, my affliction; for the enemy has magnified himself. 10 The adversary has spread out his hand on all her pleasant things: for she has seen that the nations are entered into her sanctuary, concerning whom you commanded that they should not enter into your assembly. 11 All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for food to refresh the soul: look, LORD, and see; for I am become abject. 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? 13 From on high has he sent fire into my bones, and it prevails against them; he has spread a net for my feet, he has turned me back: he has made me desolate and faint all the day. 14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; they are knit together, they have come up on my neck; he has made my strength to fail: the Lord has delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand. 15 The Lord has set at nothing all my mighty men within me; he has called a solemn assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord has trodden as in a wine press the virgin daughter of Judah. 16 For these things I weep; my eye, my eye runs down with water; because the comforter who should refresh my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy has prevailed. 17 Zion spreads out her hands; there is no one to comfort her; the LORD has commanded concerning Jacob, that those who are around him should be his adversaries: Jerusalem is amongst them as an unclean thing. 18 The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: please hear all you peoples, and see my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity. 19 I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and my elders gave up the spirit in the city, while they sought them food to refresh their souls. 20 See, LORD; for I am in distress; my heart is troubled; my heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaves, at home there is as death. 21 They have heard that I sigh; there is no one to comfort me; all my enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that you have done it: you will bring the day that you have proclaimed, and they shall be like me. 22 Let all their wickedness come before you; do to them, as you have done to me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-11

The prophet sometimes speaks in his own person; at other times Jerusalem, as a distressed female, is the speaker, or some of the Jews. The description shows the miseries of the Jewish nation. Jerusalem became a captive and a slave, by reason of the greatness of her sins; and had no rest from suffering. If we allow sin, our greatest adversary, to have dominion over us, justly will other enemies also be suffered to have dominion. The people endured the extremities of famine and distress. In this sad condition Jerusalem acknowledged her sin, and entreated the Lord to look upon her case. This is the only way to make ourselves easy under our burdens; for it is the just anger of the Lord for man’s transgressions, that has filled the earth with sorrows, lamentations, sickness, and death.

Verses 12-22

Jerusalem, sitting dejected on the ground, calls on those that passed by, to consider whether her example did not concern them. Her outward sufferings were great, but her inward sufferings were harder to bear, through the sense of guilt. Sorrow for sin must be great sorrow, and must affect the soul. Here we see the evil of sin, and may take warning to flee from the wrath to come. Whatever may be learned from the sufferings of Jerusalem, far more may be learned from the sufferings of Christ. Does he not from the cross speak to every one of us? Does he not say, Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Let all our sorrows lead us to the cross of Christ, lead us to mark his example, and cheerfully to follow him.

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