Lamentations 1

1The miserable estate of Jerusalem by reason of her sin: 12she bemoaneth her afflictions: 18she confesseth God's judgments to be just, and prayeth against her insulting enemies.

1HOW1 doth 2the city sit 3solitary, that was 4full of people! how is she become 5as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and 6princess among the provinces, how is she become 7tributary!8

1 As if he said: O, how wonderful and incomprehensible are God’s judgments! How does that city sit so solitary, which formerly used to be so populous! Compare Lam. 4:1.

2 That excellent, renowned, mighty, holy city, where those great kings, David, Solomon and others, in former times kept their court in great state and magnificence! And of which God speaks in Psalm 132:14: This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. See Psalm 48:1; Cant. 6 on verse 4; Lam. 2:15.

3 So desolate, so empty of citizens and inhabitants.

4 Where formerly all houses were inhabited, and the streets were daily full of people who went in and out through this city, coming from nations far and near.

5 Mourning and weeping by reason of her sad and solitary condition, being forsaken of the Lord, her true and lawful Bridegroom or Husband; having besides no king or kingdom.

6 Having many nations and people under her command, who had to pay her yearly tributes and taxes. This was especially done in the time of David and Solomon, 1 Chron. 18:6; 2 Chron. 8:7.

7 Hebr. become tribute, that is, how she now must bow her neck under other pagan nations, and unto a sign of subjection pay tribute or levy unto them. See 2 Kings 23:24, 25; 2 Chronicles 36; Prov. 12 on verse 24.

8 In the Hebrew Bible the chapters 1, 2 and 4 of this book, each consisting of 22 verses, every verse begins according to the order of the Hebrew alphabet, as this is done in many other psalms and poems of Holy Scripture.

29Shea10weepeth 11sore 12in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: 13among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her 14friends have dealt treacherously 15with her, 16they are become her enemies.

9 Namely, the city of Jerusalem.

a Psalm 6:6.

10 Namely, through grief of heart for the welfare that she has lost, and for the misery where into she is fallen.

11 Hebr. she weepeth weeping, that is, continually, without ceasing.

12 When other men lie quietly and are fast asleep. See Job 7 on verse 3. By the night may be also understood adversity and misery. See the annotation Job 34 on verse 25.

13 Namely, those neighboring nations, which were wont to do business with her. In verse 16 she complains that she is also forsaken by God.

14 The nations round about that had made a league with Judah.

15 Or, by her, or, against her.

16 See verse 19.

317Judah 18is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of 19great servitude: 20she 21dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors 22overtook her 23between the straits.

17 That is, the inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah.

18 Other, removed, in order that the meaning would be, that in the general carrying away of the people of the Jews to Babylon, there were yet some that by connivance remained in their own possessions, but were so plagued by the garrisons and foreign soldiers, that of their own accord they forsook all, their own country, their houses and lands, and all in hope of avoiding the misery and calamity. Others apply this to the Jews who were fled from Jerusalem and from the land of Judah for fear of the approaching misery and bondage, before the Chaldeans had yet taken Jerusalem.

19 Or, greatness of bondage, that is, because of great bondage.

20 Namely, the Jewish nation. The Hebrew word is in the feminine gender. So likewise verse 1, the city of Jerusalem is compared to a widow.

21 That is, she is constrained to dwell among idolatrous nations, and such as that are estranged from God.

22 That is, beset her, assault her.

23 That is, in such places where the way is exceeding narrow, where a man can neither go forward nor backward. Others understand it of the fears and distresses where into they were fallen.

424The ways of Zion do 25mourn, because none come 26to the solemn feasts: all 27her 28gates are desolate: her priests 29sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and 30she is in bitterness.

24 That is, the ways which lead to Jerusalem, situated on Mount Zion.

25 That is, they are waste; they are not frequented as they were used to be when men in great multitudes went up to Jerusalem to the worship of God. Insensible and irrational things are ascribed to human affections both in this verse and elsewhere besides.

26 Namely, on those days which were ordained and set apart for sacrifices, especially on the high feast days, on which everyone was to appear. See Exod. 23:14; Deut. 16:16, and compare herewith Psalm 42:4.

27 Namely, of Zion, that is, of Jerusalem.

28 That is, there is no going out or coming in through the city gate, as was used to be in former time. Or, understand this thus: There is neither law nor justice administered, for, this was wont to be done in the city gates. See Gen. 34:20; Ruth 4:1, 10; 2 Sam. 15:2; 18:4; 19:8; Psalm 9:13.

29 Because the worship of God is decayed, and the city so miserably wasted.

30 Hebr. unto her is bitterness, that is, she (namely, the city of Jerusalem) is full of much grief, yea, the entire nation of the Jews, in what state or age soever they be, is full of sorrow and misery.

5Her adversaries are the 31chief, her enemies 32prosper; 33for the LORD hath afflicted her for 34the multitude of her transgressions: her 35children are 36gone into captivity before the enemy.

31 That is, have the dominion over her. Compare Deut. 28:13, 44; Psalm 18:43; 66:12; Isa. 9:13; 19:15.

32 Or, live quietly, or, have good rest.

33 Or, for the LORD hath grieved her, etc., namely, the city of Jerusalem.

34 Or, greatness.

35 Of the signification of this word see Psalm 8 on verse 2.

36 As in triumph. To be made slaves, or as men drive a herd of beasts, which they have taken away, before them. At that place none is respected, nor spared of what age, sex or condition soever one is.

6And 37from the daughter of Zion 38all her beauty is departed: her princes 39are become like harts that find 40no pasture, and 41they are gone without strength before the pursuer.

37 That is, from the people of Jerusalem.

38 Or, all her glory, especially the temple and worship of God; together with all those excellent gifts and benefits, which they had frequently received of God in a most abundant measure.

39 That is, they have lost all courage; they flee and run as the harts do from the dogs and hunters.

40 That is, they run throughout the country, being utterly impoverished, yea, being starved to death.

41 Having neither strength nor means to make any resistance.

7Jerusalem remembered 42in the days of her affliction and of 43her miseries 44all her pleasant things that she had 45in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries 46saw her, and did mock 47at her sabbaths.

42 Namely, she is now distressed with affliction and adversity.

43 Other, of her lamentings. Compare Lam. 3:19.

44 Namely, honor and riches, as also all manner of spiritual and corporal gifts, which she was used to enjoy abundantly.

45 Namely, when she was in her prosperity. Hebr. which have been of ancient days.

46 They stand and gaze upon her as upon a monster.

47 This may be understood either of the whole Divine service, the religion and ceremonies which the Jews had, according to the ordinance of God’s law; or, of the desolation of the land of the Jews, which in the time of the Babylonian captivity kept its Sabbaths or solemn feasts, as God had threatened, Lev. 26:24, 43, namely, that the land laid waste and uncultivated.

8Jerusalem 48hath grievously sinned; therefore she is 49removed: 50all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen 51herb nakedness: yea, 52she sigheth, and 53turneth backward.

48 Hebr. hath sinned a sin, that is, sinned grievously and for a long time. Otherwise there is no man who does not sin, 1 Kings 8:46. See similar phrase Exod. 32:30.

49 Hebr. a separated one, that is, as a woman, who by reason of her uncleanness, must keep herself from the society of people, according to the law, Lev. 15:19. Other, as a wandering woman, or, they have shaken the head at her. See 2 Kings 19 on verse 21.

50 That is, all who had her in esteem, namely, while she feared the Lord, and had dominion over other people and nations.

51 Being spoiled of her ornaments, especially being stripped of all piety. Compare Jer. 13:22, 26; Ezek. 16:37; Hosea 2:9; Nahum 3:5.

b Isa. 47:3.

52 Namely, when she now calls to mind how heinously she has forsaken God, seeking for help where none was to be found.

53 That is, she has become ashamed, because she was rejected of God, her true and lawful Husband.

954Her filthiness 55is in her skirts; she remembereth not 56her last end;c therefore she came down 57wonderfully: 58she had no comforter. 59O LORD, 60behold my affliction: for the enemy hath 61magnified himself.

54 That is, her filthy sins. A phrase borrowed from the uncleanness of women. These are the words of the godly church, acknowledging the justice of God in punishing obstinate, impenitent sinners

55 That is, is apparent to be seen, the signs of the shameful sins, which she has committed, cleaves yet unto her. See the annotation at Lev. 18 on verse 6, and compare Jer. 13:22, 26.

56 Or, her end, that is, she went on in her wicked course of life, not thinking that she ever would be called to give an account for her acts, and that she would then have to bear her punishment. See Jesus Syrach 7:38.

c Deut. 32:29.

57 That is, on a sudden and in a strange manner. The kingdom of Judah came to nothing after the death of king Josiah in the space of twenty-two years.

58 There is no person who assists her either with word and deed, verse 7.

59 These are the words of the remaining citizens of Jerusalem, or of the people of God there.

60 Understand additionally: and deliver me out of it. See Psalm 31:7; Acts 7:34.

61 That is, the enemy lifts up himself. See the annotation at Psalm 35 on verse 26; Psalm 38:16.

1062The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all 63her pleasant things: for 64she hath seen that 65the heathen entered 66into her sanctuary, 67whom thou didst command 68that they should not enter into thy congregation.

62 These are again the words of the prophet.

63 Hereby must be especially understood the holy furniture, or the costly vessels of the temple, which the Chaldeans had carried away, Jer. 52:17, 18.

64 Namely, the city of Jerusalem, that is, the citizens and inhabitants of Jerusalem.

65 Properly, the Chaldeans.

66 Understand here by the sanctuary not only the land of the Jews, which is called a sanctuary in Exod. 15:17, but also the holy temple, yea, the Holy of Holies, where the Gentiles had broken in.

67 Or, whereof thou hadst commanded.

68 That is, that they would not be counted among Thy people; or, that they would bear no office among Thy people. See Deut. 23:3, and compare Acts 21:28.

1169All her people sigh, they seek 70bread;d they have given their pleasant things for meat 71to relieve the soul: 72see, O LORD, and consider; for 73I am become 74vile.

69 All the people of Judah and Jerusalem, of what state or condition soever they be.

70 The word bread signifies oftentimes all that a man has need of for the sustenance of his body, especially all that a man eats, so that bread also signifies sometimes all manner of meat.

d Jer. 52:6.

71 Hebr. to revive the soul again, or, to restore the soul, that is, to refresh it, also verses 16 and 19. Compare 1 Sam. 30:12; Psalm 23:3.

72 From this place to the end of the chapter are the words of the citizens of Jerusalem.

73 That is, everyone among us.

74 That is, base, contemptible. See the annotation at Psalm 12 on verse 8. So likewise verse 8 above.

12 75Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see 76if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.

75 As if he said: Are ye not moved at my misery? Have ye no pity on me? Heed it well, and lay it to heart. Other, It concerneth you not, that is, you imagine that this does not concern you, but if you are wise, lay it to heart, heed it well, and take warning from me.

76 Compare Ezek. 5:9; Dan. 9:12.

1377From above hath 78he sent 79fire 80into my bones, 81and it prevaileth against them: 82he hath spread a net for my feet, 83he hath turned me back: he hath 84made me desolate and faint all the day.

77 That is, from heaven.

78 Namely, the Lord.

79 That is, great pains and sorrows, which, like a fire, do consume men.

80 That is, into the strongest parts of my body, as Psalm 6:2. See the annotation at Job 7 on verse 15.

81 That is, which the Lord, not any human power, does order and gives such a power, that it consumes me.

82 That is, He has me so firm in His snares that I cannot get out.

83 That is, when I thought to escape away from Him, He caught me in His net, and caused me to turn back.

84 Hebr. given, that is, He has taken away from me all means of deliverance.

1485The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: 86they are wreathed, 87and 88come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength 89to fall, the Lord hath delivered me 90into their hands, from whom 91I am not able to rise up.

85 The heavy load of my manifold sins is as it were tied up with cords, and the Lord lays it upon my neck, which is so heavy to bear that it breaks my strength. Compare Deut. 28:48. Men, being like unto mules and horses, Psalm 32, are disciplined by the yoke and bonds of adversity.

86 Namely, my transgressions, which are all twisted together as in a bundle.

87 Namely, my transgressions, which are all twisted together as in a bundle.

88 That is, laid.

89 Hebr. to falter.

90 That is, into the power of the enemies.

91 That is, all strength and power is utterly taken away from me, according to the judgment of flesh and blood, but whatsoever is impossible unto men, is possible unto Thee, O my God.

15The Lord hath trodden under foot all 92my mighty men 93in the midst of me: 94he hath called an assembly 95against me to crush my 96young men: 97the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.

92 That is, my valiant heroes, namely, on whom I most relied.

93 That is, who dwelt in me.

94 That is, He has caused many enemies to gather together against me, to destroy the flower on my people. Compare Zeph. 1:7, 8.

95 Or, upon me.

96 Properly: choice, or chosen ones, whereon I might yet have relied somewhat. See Hosea 9:12, 13.

97 The Lord has by the enemy crushed and broken in pieces her inhabitants, as grapes are broken in the winepress. Compare Isa. 63:3; Rev. 14:19, 20; 19:15. Other, the Lord hath trodden the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.

1698For these things I weep; minee eye, mine eye 99runneth down with water, because 100the comforter that should 101relieve my soul is far from me: 102my children 103are desolate, 104because the enemy prevailed.

98 Namely, because of my great and manifold sins, for the which I am now forced to bear so many and so great punishments.

e Jer. 13:17.

99 Or, there floweth water from.

100 That is, the Lord Himself, the God of all comfort, 2 Cor. 1:3. Or, understand by the comforter, her friends who would comfort her. See verses 2 and 7.

101 Hebr. bring again.

102 This is the cause why she has so great need of comfort.

103 That is, they are in a desolate condition.

104 Or, for the enemy prevaileth. Compare verse 5.

17Zion 105spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the 106LORD hath 107commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem 108is as a menstruous woman among them.

105 See Jer. 4:31.

106 That is, God has given them, who hate Jerusalem, power to afflict her on every side.

107 Moved by secret inspiration. And He, only knowing how to use evil aright, He does this by His righteous judgment.

108 See verse 8.

18109The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against 110his commandment: 111hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: 112my virgins and 113my young men are gone into captivity.

109 In all these things I must confess that the Lord deals righteously. Compare Psalm 119:137; Dan. 9:7.

110 Or, his mouth, that is, His commandments, which have been presented unto me by the mouth of His prophets. See verses 5 and 8.

111 That is, I wish that all the nations of the earth might observe the fearful judgments of God which are upon me.

112 That is, those, with whom would be planted the age to come. See Deuteronomy 28; 29.

113 That is, those, with whom would be planted the age to come. See Deuteronomy 28; 29.

19I called for 114my lovers, but 115theyf deceived me: 116my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve 117their souls.

114 That is, my confederates, on whom I had relied, and unto whom I was wont to seek for help and comfort, namely, the Egyptians and Assyrians. See Jer. 2:36; 22:20. Others take it in this sense: my lovers, that is, those to whom the care and oversight over me was committed by God, namely, my priests and elders, who were not able to deliver themselves, for they have fainted when they, etc.

115 That is, I have sought in vain unto them for comfort; they neither assisted me with words nor with deeds.

f Jer. 30:14.

116 The rulers of the church and of the land.

117 As verse 11.

20118Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: myg bowels are 119troubled; mine heart 120is turned within me; for 121I have grievously rebelled: abroad 122the sword bereaveth, 123at home there is as death.

118 Look upon me with Thy merciful eyes.

g Isa. 16:11; Jer. 48:36.

119 Or, stirred about, or, bemired, or, cast up dirt, as water which is moved or stirred about. See Job 16 on verse 16; Psalm 46 on verse 3.

120 My heart lies within me for anguish and rolls, because I have so grievously rebelled against the Lord my God.

121 Hebr. being rebellious I have been rebellious.

122 See Deut. 32:25; Jer. 14:18; 15:7; 18:21.

123 Or, within the house is as death, or is death itself. Hebr. in the house.

21They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of 124my trouble; they are glad 125that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring 126the day 127that thou hast called, 128and they shall be like unto me.

124 That is, my ruin; or, my complaint, which I make daily by reason of the misery, calamity and trouble.

125 That is, that Thou, O Lord, hast laid such affliction and misery upon me.

126 Namely, the day or time of Babel’s destruction.

127 That is, which Thou hast published by Thy prophets, namely, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, that Babel would then be destroyed.

128 That is, their misery in this world shall be then as great as mine is now at present; except the everlasting punishments and torments which they are to expect in the world to come.

22129Let all their wickedness come before thee; and 130do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is 131faint.

129 That is, bring to Thy remembrance all their wicked deeds, namely, to punish them when Thou shalt be set upon Thy throne to do justice. Compare Psalm 9:7.

130 Let them not go unpunished in regard Thou hast punished me so sorely for my sins.

131 Or, weak, or, weary. Compare verse 13; Job 10:20, 21; Isa. 1:5; Lam. 5:17.