1How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary! 2She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks: among all her lovers she hath none to comfort her: all her friends have dealt treacherously with her, they are become her enemies. 3Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits.1.3 because of great…: Heb. for the greatness of servitude 4The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. 5Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the LORD hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy. 6And from the daughter of Zion all her beauty is departed: her princes are become like harts that find no pasture, and they are gone without strength before the pursuer. 7Jerusalem remembered in the days of her affliction and of her miseries all her pleasant things that she had in the days of old, when her people fell into the hand of the enemy, and none did help her: the adversaries saw her, and did mock at her sabbaths.1.7 pleasant: or, desirable 8Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.1.8 is…: Heb. is become a removing, or, wandering 9Her filthiness is in her skirts; she remembereth not her last end; therefore she came down wonderfully: she had no comforter. O LORD, behold my affliction: for the enemy hath magnified himself. 10The adversary hath spread out his hand upon all her pleasant things: for she hath seen that the heathen entered into her sanctuary, whom thou didst command that they should not enter into thy congregation.1.10 pleasant: or, desirable 11All her people sigh, they seek bread; they have given their pleasant things for meat to relieve the soul: see, O LORD, and consider; for I am become vile.1.11 to…: or, to make the soul to come again
12¶ Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if 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.1.12 Is it…: or, It is nothing1.12 pass by: Heb. pass by the way? 13From above hath he sent fire into my bones, and it prevaileth against them: he hath spread a net for my feet, he hath turned me back: he hath made me desolate and faint all the day. 14The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand: they are wreathed, and come up upon my neck: he hath made my strength to fall, the Lord hath delivered me into their hands, from whom I am not able to rise up. 15The Lord hath trodden under foot all my mighty men in the midst of me: he hath called an assembly against me to crush my young men: the Lord hath trodden the virgin, the daughter of Judah, as in a winepress.1.15 the virgin…: or, the winepress of the virgin, etc 16For these things I weep; mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me: my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.1.16 relieve: Heb. bring back 17Zion spreadeth forth her hands, and there is none to comfort her: the LORD hath commanded concerning Jacob, that his adversaries should be round about him: Jerusalem is as a menstruous woman among them.
18¶ The LORD is righteous; for I have rebelled against his commandment: hear, I pray you, all people, and behold my sorrow: my virgins and my young men are gone into captivity.1.18 commandment: Heb. mouth 19I called for my lovers, but they deceived me: my priests and mine elders gave up the ghost in the city, while they sought their meat to relieve their souls. 20Behold, O LORD; for I am in distress: my bowels are troubled; mine heart is turned within me; for I have grievously rebelled: abroad the sword bereaveth, at home there is as death. 21They have heard that I sigh: there is none to comfort me: all mine enemies have heard of my trouble; they are glad that thou hast done it: thou wilt bring the day that thou hast called, and they shall be like unto me.1.21 called: or, proclaimed 22Let all their wickedness come before thee; and do unto them, as thou hast done unto me for all my transgressions: for my sighs are many, and my heart is faint.
This chapter is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. 1How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.
2Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is no-one to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.
3After affliction and harsh labour,
Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting-place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.
4The roads to Zion mourn,
for no-one comes to her appointed festivals.
All her gateways are desolate,
her priests groan,
her young women grieve,
and she is in bitter anguish.
5Her foes have become her masters;
her enemies are at ease.
The Lord has brought her grief
because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile,
captive before the foe.
6All the splendour has departed
from Daughter Zion.
Her princes are like deer
that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled
before the pursuer.
7In the days of her affliction and wandering
Jerusalem remembers all the treasures
that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands,
there was no-one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her
and laughed at her destruction.
8Jerusalem has sinned greatly
and so has become unclean.
All who honoured her despise her,
for they have all seen her naked;
she herself groans
and turns away.
9Her filthiness clung to her skirts;
she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding;
there was none to comfort her.
‘Look, Lord, on my affliction,
for the enemy has triumphed.’
10The enemy laid hands
on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations
enter her sanctuary –
those you had forbidden
to enter your assembly.
11All her people groan
as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food
to keep themselves alive.
‘Look, Lord, and consider,
for I am despised.’
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 he sent fire,
sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet
and turned me back.
He made me desolate,
faint all the day long.
14‘My sins have been bound into a yoke1:14 Most Hebrew manuscripts; many Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint He kept watch over my sins;
by his hands they were woven together.
They have been hung on my neck,
and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has given me into the hands
of those I cannot withstand.
15‘The Lord has rejected
all the warriors in my midst;
he has summoned an army against me
to1:15 Or has set a time for me / when he will crush my young men.
In his winepress the Lord has trampled
Virgin Daughter Judah.
16‘This is why I weep
and my eyes overflow with tears.
No-one is near to comfort me,
no-one to restore my spirit.
My children are destitute
because the enemy has prevailed.’
17Zion stretches out her hands,
but there is no-one to comfort her.
The Lord has decreed for Jacob
that his neighbours become his foes;
Jerusalem has become
an unclean thing among them.
18‘The Lord is righteous,
yet I rebelled against his command.
Listen, all you peoples;
look on my suffering.
My young men and young women
have gone into exile.
19‘I called to my allies
but they betrayed me.
My priests and my elders
perished in the city
while they searched for food
to keep themselves alive.
20‘See, Lord, how distressed I am!
I am in torment within,
and in my heart I am disturbed,
for I have been most rebellious.
Outside, the sword bereaves;
inside, there is only death.
21‘People have heard my groaning,
but there is no-one to comfort me.
All my enemies have heard of my distress;
they rejoice at what you have done.
May you bring the day you have announced
so that they may become like me.
22‘Let all their wickedness come before you;
deal with them
as you have dealt with me
because of all my sins.
My groans are many
and my heart is faint.’